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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Alexander M. Rivera, February 1, 2002. Interview C-0298. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Impact of desegregation on African American schools

Rivera discusses the impact of desegregation on African American schools, focusing specifically on the example of North Carolina Central College. Rivera had graduated from NCCC in 1941 and during the 1970s he returned to work at the college. According to Rivera, school desegregation often meant that African American schools lost some of its better scholars and athletes to larger schools who had the ability to offer scholarships in their pursuit to integrate their schools with the "best" black students.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Alexander M. Rivera, February 1, 2002. Interview C-0298. 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

KIERAN TAYLOR:
How did coming to Central in the early, mid '70s, how did the effects of desegregation affect Central? Did you see any effects in terms of the student body or over the long term how did it affect the institution?
ALEXANDER M. RIVERA:
No, not. It didn't affect them at all.
KIERAN TAYLOR:
No. Did it, I don't know, drive up competition for students with say UNC?
ALEXANDER M. RIVERA:
A certain quality. See UNC said that those top students that they could offer tremendous scholarships. They said they belong with us. In other words UNC said, well, the law says we've got to have a certain amount of black students, but it doesn't say we have to have any of the dumb ones. We've got the money. It was a period of buying students, and they had the money to buy what they wanted. They did. In fact they still do. We didn't have scholarship money and don't have it yet, but we're getting some under this new man that's in now.
KIERAN TAYLOR:
How about in terms of the athletic programs at Central? Do you think those
ALEXANDER M. RIVERA:
Oh yeah, all suffered.
KIERAN TAYLOR:
That's suffered.
ALEXANDER M. RIVERA:
You take [Phil] Ford and all those people that you've got over at Carolina. They would've, we were getting all those people from Rocky Mount came into North Carolina College. We would've gotten, we were getting the cream of the black athletes. When you look around and see your, I look at the University of Mississippi the other night playing basketball. Everybody on there was black. I said I was shocked. It's Mississippi. When teams came in here to play, Duke and Carolina if they had a black star on the team, their black star stayed over in the black neighborhood with somebody because he couldn't stay in the hotel and couldn't stay at the school.