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Interview With Sen. McKissick

Updated: Wednesday, August 28 2013, 10:49 PM EDT

One of the country's leading civil rights leaders who marched along side Dr. King was born and raised in Asheville.  He was the father of Senator Floyd McKissick of Raleigh.

There were times in Asheville when racism and segregation were simply a matter of life. McKissick remembers his father's stories of growing up in Asheville.

"Certainly as a child, he had a memorable experience when he got on a streetcar bus and they told him to go to the back because he was black and it struck him profoundly and stuck with him always," he said. 

But there are also the stories of countless African Americans who grew up as slaves and faced racism for decades in the south.

McKissick went on to become the first black student admitted to UNC Chapel Hill Law School. He then moved to New York to head up a top civil rights organization that led historic freedom rides.

The following are pictures from the North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library, Asheville, North Carolina:

James Edwin Rumbough and his wife Martha Elizabeth Baker Rumbough, seated in a two-wheel, two-horse-drawn open carriage. A young black man stands in front holding the reins. In the background is the north end of the front (with porte cochere) of Hopewell Hall built ca 1892 after they were married in 1890. Estimated date 1892-1900.

Family with servant: Family at home ca 1900. "Father" in wicker chair at left reading "The Atlanta Constitution." "Mother" in the wicker rocker at right, with a book in her lap. "Daughter" seated left in wooden rocker, reading studiously. "Son" at the table at right, writing by the oil lamp. Child in the floor by "mother's" feet. Black woman standing by the fireplace is probably a servant.

Boys carrying schoolbooks stand looking into the display window of Market Street Branch Library at #39 South Market St in the Y.M.I. (Young Men's Institute) Building. The library branch, first called the "Colored Library," opened in 1927 on Market St. South. Name changed to Market Street Branch of City Libraries in 1951. Branch moved to another part of YMI Bldg, facing Eagle St, in 1959. That branch closed in 1966, after the library system desegregated in 1962. Estimated date late 1940s-1951.

Story Hour by Mrs. Elizabeth Howze, Livingston St. School teacher, right at the Market Street Branch Library in the Young Men's Institute Building.  Photo date, November 15, 1959; photo by Juanita Wilson.

Fifty black high school students posed on front steps and porch of Circle Terrace Sanitarium, which was used for classrooms while a new school was being constructed for the black students. Stephens-Lee High School opened in the spring of 1923.  Photo circa 1922.

Twenty-nine members of the Crown and Scepter Club of 1951 posed in front of an entrance to Stephens-Lee High School.

Photo showing the Asheville Royal Giants baseball team at Pearson Park, West Asheville. The Royal Giants were Asheville's first black baseball team.

Portrait of the Royal Giants, Asheville's first black baseball team. Some discrepancy in the actual date; the original photo has "1917" on the back and "1921" on the front.

Whites only bathroom: View from above of steps leading down to the women's restroom on Pack Square. Photo credit: Andrea Clark, Asheville

Interview With Sen. McKissick

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