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- Robert Smith Student Project on the Charlotte African American Community
- Nathaniel Washington oral history interview, 2006 November 14
Nathaniel Washington oral history interview, 2006 November 14
Nathaniel Washington describes his early life in the Third Ward section of Charlotte, North Carolina. He discusses his experience in segregated schools during the 1950s-1960s, explaining that there were inequalities as black schools were supplied with outdated textbooks and failed to incorporate black history into the school curriculum. Further, he describes how he faced racial discrimination in his daily life through downtown restaurants that had separate ordering procedures for blacks, segregated seating on buses, and Charlotte's urban renewal policies, which destroyed traditionally black communities that were important to his family history. He also explains that he was able to advance to the position of assistant manager at a Denny's restaurant, a position that allowed him to oversee white employees. Despite building strong relationships with his employees, he experienced racial discrimination from a local white hotel manager who disliked his social interaction with whites. Although Mr. Washington experienced prejudice in the community and in the workplace, he describes how he always treated people with respect and accepted people as individuals, regardless of the color of their skin.