Modjeska Simkins:
After the White Citizens' Council were organizing that area for the purpose of putting an economic squeeze on the Negroes and publicly announced it and boasted that they were going to do it. Then we said, if they can put on a squeeze, we can put on a boycott. So then we just used the boycott term openly. And more than that, we asked the people who were trading in Orangeburg as far as possible to buy as little as possible, and as far as possible to go outside of the Orangeburg trading area. This was as it came up toward Christmas when the squeeze was on. It came up during the latter part of the year, as I remember. We asked the people to go either to Augusta, or Charleston, or Columbia and do their shopping, go in car pools, and like that. We did that. That was one thing we did. I ran across the other day the list that we had, the boycott list. I remember another thing we did was to list articles that we wanted the people not to buy. I mimeographed them on my machine, and we cut them in little strips about like this, and we stuck them under all the windshields at the big football games down at Orangeburg. Then too, we knew that people had to trade somewhere. So then we boycotted certain products. For instance, we'd say ... well, you see, the person who had the Coca Cola franchise in Orangeburg refused to sell Coca Cola to blacks or to service the Coca Cola vending machines in black businesses. So then we boycotted Coca Cola. The national representative, black representative of Coca Cola, Moss Kendrick, was sent in here to try to placate us. And it was about that time - you were too young to remember - but Coca Cola just outshone Pepsi Cola everywhere.

But about that time, we got a picture in Jet magazine of a Coca Cola machine, brand-new vending machine, sitting unused in an outstanding Exxon station ... it was not Exxon, Standard Oil station in Orangeburg, not being able to make any money on it because this franchise wouldn't sell to them. So that got all over the country, and Negroes everywhere started to boycott Coca Cola. It was at that time that Pepsi Cola really caught a foothold and moved out from that point. I don't think that it's nationally recognized, but I know that it did. And then we boycotted certain products. For instance, say for instance, if they had National Biscuit Peanut Wafers and Tom's Peanut Wafers, we would just take one, you know? And then tell them to leave the other on the shelf. Or if it was a certain type of bread, we would say, buy this bread and not that bread. And maybe we'd take the type of bread that was sold principally in some of the main grocery stores because we knew people had to buy bread. We knew they had to have milk. So the man in Orangeburg who had the Coca Cola franchise had the franchise for Sunbeam bread. He also had the franchise for Paradise ice cream. So we boycotted those three things. We knew people wanted ice cream, they wanted bread, they needed milk for their children, so we just made them on the list to boycott. So it was a lot of strategic action.

Jacqueline Hall:
How effective was the boycott?

Modjeska Simkins:
Most effective, child. We closed one big apparel store down there. Those people were glad through that area when that thing let up, when they found out they couldn't just take those people's property and couldn't just bring them to their knees.

- Modjeska Simkins, NAACP secretary

Interview with Modjeska Simkins by Jacqueline Hall and Bob Hall, July 28, 1976, Interview G-0056-2, in the Southern Oral History Program Collection #4007, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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