- Goldmine: Root
- Oral History Collections
- Student Project on the Charlotte African American Community
- William Frank Bonham oral history interview, 2006 November 16
William Frank Bonham oral history interview, 2006 November 16
William Frank Bonham discusses his life growing up in segregated Charlotte and his significant contributions to the community, in particular his involvement in the local branch of the NAACP and his career as one of the first black telegram delivery men. He also describes his experience playing football at Second Ward High School, and explains the differences between the racially segregated sports facilities. Mr. Bonham recalls the racial discrimination that blacks encountered when they entered white-owned establishments and the downtown shops' resistance to desegregation, as well as the police brutality that blacks endured from Charlotte's white police force. Further, he describes how economic hardship and racial discrimination threatened the survival of African American businesses. Examples he discusses include efforts to drive black-owned cab companies out of business in the late 1930s and the disproportionate closing or seizure of black-owned businesses by local government as part of Charlotte's urban renewal program during the 1960s.