Interview with C. T. Vivian
QUESTION 10
INTERVIEWER:

O.K., SO NASHVILLE LIKE, LIKE WHERE COULD THE AVERAGE BLACK HOUSEWIFE NOT GO, WHAT WAS NASHVILLE—STARTING WITH THE WORD "NASHVILLE."

C. T. Vivian:

Though Nashville had an image, and though Nashville was better than most places, in some respects, in terms of average lifestyle, it wasn't that much better [than?] the rest of the South. For instance, uh, going downtown, my wife uh, couldn't uh, go to a bathroom downtown. That limited how long you had to be downtown, right? Seek out a place, uh, try to go into some black area off the edge of town as quickly as you could. You could not eat downtown, right? Your children would be with you and the child would be hungry, uh, you uh, you couldn't stop to, you know, you couldn't take your child in and have a hamburger or share something with the child. Uh, and you would have to drag your child along while the child was uh, asking, you know, to eat, or, "Why can't I eat?" or—and the child sees other people in there eating. Uh, uh, working uh, you couldn't be a clerk in a store, you had to be a janitor uh, you had to have a lesser position. There was no, there was no role for a black in the downtown area except as consumer and even then, you had to wait for others, whites, to be served first in most cases. Uh, and that was considered the norm, uh, and in fact it was, it seemed as though many people thought that, it was a privilege to allow you to be downtown uh, in that sense, Those were the kinds of daily, everyday problems, that created the atmosphere under which most lives were lived.