Interview with Rufus Lewis
QUESTION 3
INTERVIEWER:

I'LL REPEAT THAT QUESTION. A LOT OF OUR VIEWERS AREN'T GOING TO HAVE ANY IDEA OF WHAT THE SOUTH WAS LIKE AROUND 1955. CAN YOU DESCRIBE FOR ME WHAT MONTGOMERY WAS LIKE AROUND '55, ESPECIALLY IN TERMS OF RACE RELATIONS AND SEGREGATION?

Rufus Lewis:

What Montgomery was like around 1955. Montgomery from then on back had been a highly segregated environment. Blacks lived in one neighborhood, whites lived in others. There was no mixture of black and whites in the various neighborhoods, except where whites have blacks living in their yard as servants. That was the kind of mixture that you would find. Now, other than that, there was a sharp distinction between the activities of the blacks living in their yard as servants. That was the kind of mixture that you would find. Now, other that that, there was a sharp distinction between the activities of the blacks and the activities of the whites. Blacks usually was the servants and did the labor. There was some few blacks did other things, such as insurance and business of that type, which did—dealt solely with blacks. As far as kids were concerned, there was no—very few associations of black and white kids. I remember when I was a boy, going from—off Gould Street over here to Swain School, Booker Washington School, many times white would wait for us, and throw us—throw rocks at us to run us out of the community. That happened frequently, but we got used to is, and even changed our way, that we got rocks and threw back at them. So that was—that was a kind of normal situation between black and white. They didn't work together except in areas where blacks and whites agreed on some things.