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The speaker is a 40-year-old White man with a high school education from Shelbina, Missouri; he was recorded in 1967.


County: Shelby
State: MO

Located in northeast Missouri, Shelbina is now a town of under 2,000 residents. Originally formed because of the building of the Hannibal and St. Joseph railroads, the rural settlement grew quickly as the established railhead for several surrounding towns. The community continues to be a farm-based economy. All early industries, such as a wagon factory, a creamery, a flour mill, and the manufacturing of the first commercial corn planter, supported agriculture. Ninety-nine percent of the town's residents are White, a percentage that has remained more or less the same for decades. In this segment the speaker talks about the lack of racial tension in Shelbina at that time.
Inf: Well, we were talking about the racial problem. I, I think uh, that if a lot of people would change their attitude that some of these problems would be solved. And I don't see a need to have uh, bloodshed over some of these problems that they are having. Uh, w-, I realize that there are lots of slum areas in the Negro sections of the cities. There are al-, also uh, slum areas in the White. Uh, but I feel like that uh, if some of these problems could be licked. Uh, I think for one thing that uh, some people that, not only Whites but some of the Negroes, uh, more or less expect a handout from the government, and the other people. And if they'd uh, so to speak, get on the ball a little bit and work, I don't think work hurts anybody. I've worked all my life and I'm, think I'm a pretty healthy man and I aim to live a good long while. And I think uh, we'd uh, expect to get out and work for our families and make an honest living. We could solve a lot of the problems right there.

FW: Mm-hmm. Uh, are the Negroes uh, around Shelbina, uh, uh, hav-, has their situation improved, uh?

Inf: Our situation in Shelbina is very good and always has been. We've integrated schools. We didn't have any difficulty at all. Uh, in uh, our church in Shelbina they have been invited and they do come to our Bible school, to our revivals, uh, to our services that we have at uh, Eas-, at uh, Eas-, uh, not Easter, but uh, Thanksgiving. Uh, th-they do have a church of their own, which they want and they want to continue as long as is possible. Uh, and being as they do want to do this, why the uh, White church, which is the First Baptist Church, have offered assisting to them in any way that they could. But at this time they have uh, declined it. They said as long as they could uh, do it theyselves, that's the way they wanted it.

FW: Mm-hmm.

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