Marshall Morgan: From North Carolina to Massachusetts

By Bre Foley   

     Marshall Morgan grew up in Durham, North Carolina during the peak of segregation. He attended Merrick-Moore High School and lived at home with his parents. Morgan was an only child and grew up with a small family, unlike many of his friends at the time. After graduating high school, he found himself competing for jobs with African-Americans much older than him.

     It was very difficult for anyone to find work. “Certain jobs you were hired to do, certain jobs you weren’t hired to do; education had nothing to do with it.” Morgan said.

      He got a job working in the grocery department of A&P Tea Company, which most positions such as this were occupied by African-Americans, Marshall said. He said he almost never was allowed to work in the front of the store, where white employees worked.

      “I worked 30 hours a week for three years,” Morgan said. “I got 75 cents per hour back then.”

      When one of his Army friends from Massachusetts came to visit, he told Morgan about the jobs in Massachusetts and other states in the North.

     So, at 26 years old, Morgan moved north. He found a job in Bridgewater, Massachusetts at the Avon Shoe Factory and worked on the assembly line there for several years. Marshall said this was an improvement from his life in the South but there were still problems.

      He told about the time he and his Army friend were turned down trying to get something to eat in Boston. “We went to the Howard Johnson for a Celtics game and had to call [police] because we were denied service there.” said Morgan. Marshall Morgan has lived in Bridgewater, Massachusetts with his wife for over 40 years.

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