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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Latrelle McAllister, June 25, 1998. Interview K-0173. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Importance of West Charlotte as a symbol

McAllister reflects on the age of West Charlotte as a physical structure, and unlike many former students, declares that if the school needs to be moved, she would support it, despite her belief in the importance of the school as a symbol. She would oppose closing the school, however.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Latrelle McAllister, June 25, 1998. Interview K-0173. 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

So, I’d like to see them have a staff and faculty that’s dedicated to understand where high school students are, understanding that they really don’t know who they are themselves and helping them to open the door to see who they can be. PG: Another thing that I’ve been talking to people about related to West Charlotte and related to the future is that West Charlotte is very interesting because in Charlotte, a place where buildings are constantly torn down and new things are built and old things are put away. It’s really one of the oldest institutions in the city that’s still in, more or less, of the same place. I wonder if you could talk a little bit about why that’s important or if you see that as having that there in the same community as important. LM: I do see it as important. However, one of the things that I’m constantly reminded of is that a lot of times we hold onto things that are comfortable to us. So, if--. I certainly would like to see West Charlotte continue, but if it comes to the point where West Charlotte would move to another location and by doing so would provide a wider range of opportunities for students, I think I’d be receptive to that. I don’t think I’d be receptive to it going too far. But, I think I’d be receptive to that because part of the greatness is not so much in the location. It’s moved from its original home on Beatties Ford Road to where it is now on Senior Drive. The degree to which it survives especially in the next century and beyond is to the degree to which it’s able to keep up with technology. Quite frankly, as a parent I want my child to go to an environment that’s comfortable, where it’s pleasant, where they have nice surroundings. Those are the kinds of situations that we try to put our children in. So if it gets to the point where maintaining that structure itself is cost prohibitive, if it’s not in the best interest of the children that attend there, then I would—. I don’t think I’d have a problem with that. But if they tried to close it down, I’d march again. I’d hold that banner high again. I really would. PG: Have you ever been concerned again at any point, since that first march, it might be closed? LM: No, I haven’t it. That’s ironic. I imagine we should have been. I think, though, with the alumni association and the broad grass roots support, I just didn’t see that happening.