Interview, Nanceau Carlton

July 11, 1980

Nanceau “Ann” Carlton (b. 1918) grew up in Charleston, West Virginia. She attended segregated schools as a child and after high school, went on to study business administration and education at West Virginia State College. Upon graduation, Carlton found a job as a secretary for a black lawyer in Indianapolis, Indiana. She worked in Indianapolis for four years before moving on to a teaching position at St. Paul’s Normal and Industrial School in Virginia. Carlton earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania in 1962 and moved to Rochester with her husband in 1965. Here she held a variety of jobs with the Polk Directory Company, the Family Service Association, the City-County Youth Board, and the Rochester Institute of Technology, where she ultimately became Program Director of Special Services. Carlton was involved with civil rights activism throughout her life and participated in non-violent protests in the South. In Rochester, she was involved with the YWCA and the Genesee Ecumenical Ministry.

In this interview, Carlton reflects on her experiences with segregation and racial discrimination in both West Virginia and Rochester. She discusses her involvement in non-violent civil rights protests, and shares a story about being denied service at a fast food restaurant on account of her race. Carlton also discusses growing up in poverty during the Great Depression.

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  • 1930s
  • 1940s
  • 1950s
  • 1960s
  • 1970s
  • 1980s