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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with J. Carlton Fleming, [date unknown]. Interview B-0068. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Busing played no role in consolidation question

Fleming's memory is hazy on the issue, but he does not believe that busing played a major role in deciding the consolidation question.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with J. Carlton Fleming, [date unknown]. Interview B-0068. 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.

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It seemed to have been one of the major issues . . .As far as ward politics, and inability to find qualified candidates in all the districts, and that sort of argument. That also seems to sort of tie in with the whole school busing controversy. An unwillingness or an unease about having more black representation. There seemed to have been . . .The question was brought up anyway that the vote be postponed because of the school busing controversy. All the emotions and the agitation over the thing. From the way it turned out, and maybe this is Monday-morning quarterbacking, it seems that if the vote had been later maybe some of this agitation and this racial feeling might have died down.
I really wonder if the school busing question had much of an impact on this thing, Bill. I would be inclined to doubt it. Not that that was a pleasant episode for this community. It was anything but. I really doubt that the busing situation would have had any impact on the consolidation proposal had the consolidation proposal been simple and had it not involved districts. If you had retained at-large elections and kept the number of representatives on the legislative body at about what it was, that is, twelve, give or take two or three, I really question that the busing situation would have had much to do with it. Again, I'm trying to put that in focus. When did we first have our busing order here?
The actual decision was, I believe, the 23rd of April of 1969. That was just when the mayor, or Brookshire and Lowe were appointing members of the commission. Between there and `671 were the various court devisions. I guess the fall of '70 was the big . . .
When was the consolidation vote? What was the date of that?
March of '71. The schools had started with the busing in the fall of '70, and this was eight or almost at the end of that first school year. .
I don't think the public here would have turned down consolidation per se because of what had gone on on that busing contreversy. I may be wrong, and you're probably going to get some opposite opinions on that subject, but I just doubt that seriously. I really think it was inherent in the other things we talked about. I think if there had never been a school busing case here the results would have been virtually the same as we had. I don't think there was an impact.