Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Alma Enloe, May 18, 1998. Interview K-0167. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Resources and administration at West Charlotte

Enloe describes Pop Miller, the African American principal of West Charlotte High School. According to Enloe, Miller knew his students by their first names, and was part of what made West Charlotte such a great place to attend. However, the school's resources were sub-par. Enloe remembers the long lists of previous owners' names in her textbooks, a demerit more than balanced out by the school's exceptional marching band.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Alma Enloe, May 18, 1998. Interview K-0167. 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

PG: Yes. I’m going to go talk to him. His brother, I think, has been sick so he’s been busy with that, but I’m going to go talk to him. Tell me about him. AE: He knew everybody by their first name. Back then I think a pack of cigarettes was like twenty-six cents, and some of the girls were trying to learn how to smoke and sneak in the bathroom. He would bamg on that door, “All right, come out! I know you’re in there. You come on out of there.” And I would be in there, but I didn’t smoke. When I came out, “Kennedy, you ain’t got no business being in there. Get on to your class.” It was nobody getting mad because they did that. We knew they were doing it for our own good. We just had a good time at school, and sometime I wish I could just go back to that time, and sleep through all this time that’s going on right now. We didn’t have a whole lot of new books. Some of them got new books and by not being integrated we got books that the white schools had used. You’d get a book and it had so many people’s names on there that had had the book before you. But we still had to wrap those books in brown paper bag, or newspaper. Keep those books and then turn them in at the end of the year and just start all over. It was just great being a part of West Charlotte. I talk to a lot of people today that went to school with me, but their children by them living in different neighborhoods weren’t able to go to West Charlotte. But everybody wanted to go to West Charlotte. Everybody wants to be known that they were a Lion. We had the marching band. Did Saundra tell you about her brother Stanley? PG: Yes. AE: Yes, honey, they called us the high stepping marching West Charlotte band. They would keep us at the end of the parade near Santa Claus, because if West Charlotte had come first West Charlotte took the whole square with them. Everybody ran behind West Charlotte. It was just great.