Separate schools are OK so long as they are equal
McKissick considers busing and integration. He thinks that the issue of busing can obscure the larger need to properly educate children, and even interfere with their education by exiling them from their communities. He sees nothing wrong with a school that is nearly all black if students receive a quality education there.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Floyd B. McKissick Sr., December 6, 1973. Interview A-0134. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Full Text of the Excerpt
- JACK BASS:
If you have time, I would like to ask you about your perception of
busing. In particular, the black perception of busing.
- FLOYD MCKISSICK:
I've got to run to Charlotte and they tell me I've
got about a dozen phone calls to make before I run now. I'm a
believer that just the physical bus itself can't really solve
constitutional problems. It's people that have to solve the
problems and busing is overemphasizing a mechanical method to achieve a
social goal. And in some instances, busing is desirable, in other
instances, busing would not be a desirable thing.
Just like I think that many places in the South, including North
Carolina, when finally the courts said "we will have
integration," integration meant that you were going to lose the
black schools. They were going to close. In many instances it destroyed
that black middle class society, which would have been… I
mean teachers in that group…it had a very bad effect, because
then there was educational effort to bring people together, so to speak.
These lost jobs and in many instances, left the community. Then you had
a battle between the haves and have nots. I think that integration has
been used,…it has thrown many black teachers out of jobs in
the South. Southern Regional Council, you see…talk to John
Lewis, I think they gathered much data and statistics on just effective
integration has been and to what extent and where these black teachers
went and how many left jobs, etc. I digresss to get back to the point of
busing. I'd much rather see in many
instances…there is nothing wrong with a school that is
predominantly black if you've really got the facilities, the
equipment and the teachers there. Nothing wrong with it. What are you
going to do about that in, say, the eastern part of North Carolina where
you have counties like Warren or many of these counties, where the
population is going to make that school a predominantly black school.
It's there. Period. And the kids need to be educated, period.
And you are going to bus these kids over to some other place and that is
going to force a closing while in the meantime, these kids need an
education. You need to be dealing with the issues
and I think that every kid has an individual constitutional right to an
education. So, I think that sometimes…I believe in busing.
But I believe that…I don't like to apply a general
rule, being a lawyer, there are more exceptions to general rules than
the application of the general rules…the number of times it
is applied to a given situation. I think you have to look at a situation
and determine who those people are and what they are trying to seek and
then try to bring those people together to achieve the goals that we set
for ourselves. [interruption]
- FLOYD MCKISSICK:
…it might not be 100% free of racism…, but I bet
you that if we can get in there, it will be 70% free of racism. Because
I think that we are automatically running those people out who believe
in that concept and those who don't believe in it
aren't going to be around anyway.