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Title: Oral History Interview with Carl A. Mills Jr., June 30, 1999. Interview K-0182. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Mills, Carl A., Jr., interviewee
Interview conducted by Van Scoyoc, Peggy
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 112 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-09-13, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Carl A. Mills Jr., June 30, 1999. Interview K-0182. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0182)
Author: Peggy Van Scoyoc
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Carl A. Mills Jr., June 30, 1999. Interview K-0182. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0182)
Author: Carl A. Mills Jr.
Description: 164 Mb
Description: 28 p.
Note: Interview conducted on June 30, 1999, by Peggy Van Scoyoc; recorded in Cary, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Peggy Van Scoyoc.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series K. Southern Communities, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Carl A. Mills Jr., June 30, 1999.
Interview K-0182. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Mills, Carl A., Jr., interviewee


Interview Participants

    CARL A. MILLS JR., interviewee
    PEGGY VAN SCOYOC, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Today is Wednesday, June 30, 1999. This is Peggy Van Scoyoc and I am here at the home of Carl Mills Jr. We are here today to talk to Mr. Mills about his career and also about his involvement in Cary recreation and his life in Cary in general.
Mr. Mills, if you could tell us briefly about your family background. Where your grandparents and your parents were from.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Okay, my parents and grandparents were natives of Concord near Charlotte, about twenty miles north of Charlotte. I finished Concord High in 1943 and immediately started classes at Wake Forest College which was then located in the county. I was approaching eighteen, I was still seventeen years old at the time, but I volunteered to go in service. My feeling was that I would get a little maturity than I had as a seventeen year old. So I volunteered for the Navy and wound up at Quantico, VA after bootcamp in the Navy. I wound up at Quantico as a similated Marine boots. Then I had a military career in the Pacific with the Third Amphibious Corps. Basically we were the first Marine division…
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
What action did you see during the War?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
We were a reinforcement group at Guadalcanal, but I did not get the main action there. Then we got into various Amphibious operations. It culminated at Okinawa with the Third Amphib. Corps in the first division.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Where you in the first wave at Okinawa?

Page 2
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Okinawa was most unusual. The activity was very calm. The First and Sixth Marine Divisions formed the Amphibious group. Three divisions were at Io-jima at the time and so one Marine group made a diversionary attack at Okinawa and the main attack that we came in on. There was no Japanese anywhere in the area except Japanese Americans. We had activity at the northern part of the island. The Tenth Army had the southern part of it. We had very little opposition and we managed to occupy the northern part very quickly and came back down south and found the Tenth Army about where we left them. So then the forces were combined and the invasion started into Okinawa in earnest. We had such a poor relationship with the Japanese that the Third Amphib. Corps, the First Division wasn't allowed to go to Japan as an occupying group, so we were scattered all over North China, the Philippines and all over.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
By order of the United States government?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
It was a case of… The feeling was so bitter toward the end at Okinawa that the powers to be felt it was best to not come in contact with the Japanese after the War.
Anyway, my group went to the Philippines, and then when we came back home I went back to Wake Forest. So that gives me the reason for being in Wake County. Part of the Wake Forest thing was my Dad was Baptist and so was the whole Mills clan, and so he had made a deal with my sister that she would spend one year at Meredith and I would spend one year at Wake Forest, then we could go anywhere we wanted to. But once you get hooked why, you come back to stay. Even today I have a hard time when Carolina and Wake Forest are playing basketball. After I finished Wake with a pre-med degree, I finished Wake Forest and went to Louisburg to teach. The feeling was I lost so much time during the War that I just couldn't afford to follow my pre-med degree at the time. So I became a math/science teacher at Louisburg High and I coached two sports there, basketball and baseball.

Page 3
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
At the high school level?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Yes. So I spent a couple of years there and then I went to Henderson to be an elementary Principal. One of these small, seven-teacher schools where I not only had the administrative responsibilities but I taught sixth graders full-time.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So you were a working Principal.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Yes, at that time I really didn't have enough to keep me busy and so I did some coaching at the varsity level in football and that got me interested in sports because later the Henderson Bulldogs played the Harding High in Charlotte for state championship at the 2A level.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Who won?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
We lost, Henderson lost. But Henderson was a rather small school compared to Harding High in Charlotte.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
How long were you Principal at Henderson?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Just one year. Teaching was not a full time job, even administration wasn't and so what you did was you were paid on a nine-month basis. That was the length of the school term. Even as a Principal you were paid one additional week. I was not sure at that point what my future would be. My father-in-law was a businessman in Raleigh and I had made the decision to leave the profession and assist him with his business in Raleigh because the most employment I had gotten in three years was painting during the summer in Henderson as a teacher. Whatever the Superintendent thought he needed painted. So I left and moved to Raleigh and as soon as school opened I became very homesick. That was when I found out about the opening at Cary, applied for that position and got it.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
What year was this?

Page 4
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
This goes back to fall of'53. At that point, Cary was participating in additional staff support because according to the state plan when a school qualified for twenty nine teaching positions, they got a thirtieth one free. Otherwise you had to qualify through average daily attendance from the records of the year before. Things became official in that era at the twenty-day period. In other words, about one month into the school year they could make adjustments. So Cary had a position opening up and it wasn't being awarded. I applied for it and got it, so it was kind of a strange way that I got into Cary.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So you came into Cary as the Principal and a teacher?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Well, at that particular case, it had to be clarified, the position. I guess the first thing to say is that Paul Cooper was the District Principal. This meant that he was not only responsible for Cary High which is now Cary Elementary, but he was also responsible for Mount Vernon, Swift Creek Elementary and plans were underway for A.B. Combs that would not open for a couple of years but plans were underway for it. I guess the best way to put it is Paul was really the District Principal. I qualified as a local Principal. It so happened that I had known Mr. Cooper for a number of years and there was no question about who was in authority and what have you. He had his hands full away from the Cary campus and I had a freelanced deal with a structured program and various things at what is now Cary Elementary.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
At the time was it known as Cary Academy still, or had it changed names?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
I'm not sure it was known as Cary Academy unless you go back to about 1912. I once met with a group of graduates from 1912, '13, '14 and '15 which was a delightful group. They kind of had a reunion and met on the Cary Elementary campus, but at that time Cary High was in existence having pulled away from the Union school.

Page 5
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So when you joined the Cary school district in 1953, Cary school was what - one through twelve grades? Was it kindergarten through twelve or one through twelve?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
No, there was no kindergarten yet.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Okay, so it was one through twelve, and it was called just Cary School?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Cary High School. Cary Elementary at that time was what is now Kingswood and the Negro youngsters attended that particular school in the district.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
And at that time it was one through eight?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Yeah, because Berry O'Kelly was the high school location for the black kids. It was annexed into Raleigh and at that time Cary, or Wake County paid tuition charges for the black kids in that area to go to Berry O'Kelly.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So Wake County was paying tuition for each black student from Wake County from the Cary area…
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
…that attended Berry O'Kelly High School.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
And that was near Fuquay Varina?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
No, just across the line into Raleigh. Our district at that time was from Avent Ferry Road to the Durham County line. Raleigh annexed a big portion of that. They wanted to reach a certain level population. I don't know how many years, I've forgotten how many years we sent black students into Berry O'Kelly, but what is now West Cary Middle School, that was built to house the black kids in the Cary area.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Through High School?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Grades nine through twelve.

Page 6
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So the black kids would go to what is now Kingswood one through eight, and then they started going to West Cary for [grades] nine through twelve to finish their schooling, and that was all in Cary.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
That was to counter the charges of the City of Raleigh and the Raleigh Public Schools placed on students attending Berry O'Kelly.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Do you recall what year?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
There were only about ninety kids, black kids involved?
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
That's all? Oh. When was this, what time frame did West Cary open, do you recall?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Not precisely, but it was about somewhere in the late fifties.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Okay, so it was before the integration laws were passed.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
That was coming about the same time.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Okay. So now you were Principal of Cary High School, or Cary Elementary, when integration was made law.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Elementary and Junior High. Those two portions became East Cary, and Cary Elementary when it was later settled down. There was such a small number of black kids in the Cary attendance area that the feeling was that that was an ideal time to integrate. This meant thirty kids, thirty black kids when into the ninth grade, and about sixty went to the high school, a very token situation. But that's all there were.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Can you talk a little bit about when the school districts were abolished in 1965. Why that was done and what the plan was to do that?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Well, I think really it was the 1970's, when the merger took place between the City and County, is what you're referring to. It was a bitter battle between the City and the County. At that time the main population concentration was at Cary in the County. So twice the city of

Page 7
Raleigh, citizens in Raleigh and twice the citizens in the County voted against merger. Suddenly a group of six representatives representing the Wake County area, they all lived in Raleigh, they took it on themselves to present a bill to the General Assembly which merged City and County. It was almost a replay on what the Commission has done lately ignoring the bond issue vote.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
And so the citizens brought that about. It wasn't a political…
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
It was purely political.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
But it wasn't brought about by politicians, it was brought about by citizens?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
About by members of the House of Representatives that lived in Raleigh. They presented a bill to the General Assembly to merge Wake County, Stevenson and Raleigh. Prior to that time we had tried to integrate, setting up our own rules, communicating with the Health, Education and Welfare [H.E.W.] attempting to decide as a citizen group how we would go about integrating. Raleigh was satisfied, Mr. Hooper was there, a Superintendent at the time. They were satisfied to go each Monday to a judge and carry out what he ordered for the City of Raleigh. So the attitude was so different in the County and the City. Anyway, another interesting thing is that Mr. Hooper did not have a master's degree, he did not have the minimum for Principals for a Superintendent certificate. When the Board of Education surveyed the Eastern Seaboard maybe further the Board Administrator, they got Dr. John Murphy from the New Jersey area. Aaron Fussell who was the County Superintendent who was the only North Carolinian who applied for the job. And at merger Mr. Fussell was made an Administrative Assistant to John Murphy with no real responsibilities, and Mr. Hooper was made a Deputy Assistant Superintendent, the number two spot in the merged setup. Their philosophies were so different between the two units. For example, one of the things I did as Assistant Superintendent was, and before that as a Principal, we underwent various studies. We set up on our own exceptionally

Page 8
talented program which is the gifted/talented, same thing. And so we undertook a study and completed it. At that time I was told by the Representative of the State it would be real easy to get extra staff members, and we needed them. Students were pouring into the Town from all directions. So I applied for a position and I got the first state allotted spot, but it was subject to the approval of the Wake Superintendent, and he approved.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
This was Dr. Murphy?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
No, this was when we still had the county/city setup. Anyway, I'll come back to that in just a minute. The Superintendent approved but let me know that he would not look in favor of me going back to try to get an additional position. So I left his office and went right straight to the Board of Education in Raleigh and applied for another one, got it. I went back to get the Superintendent's okay approval so I could employ a person, because I already had a person in mind and he was not very happy but he said okay. I had the backing of the Cary Advisory Council all the way. And so I was responsible for six positions being added to the County. One went to the high school, four went to my location and one went to the Millbrook area.
Part of the story needs to be told about the Advisory Council in Cary. It was about as powerful as the Board of Education. When we met, we used to spotlight the current library at Cary Elementary. At that time there was an auditorium that sat over nine hundred people and there would be standing room. This meant that folks came from Mount Vernon, Swift Creek, Cary area, came from all over and packed the place. Okay, I found out very quickly that the Cary Advisory Council was very forward looking. They would, if you explained what you wanted to do with them pretty thoroughly, in other words you didn't pull their leg, they would give their approval, and they would raise the money it took for the positions to be added. So I was used to

Page 9
nine hundred people attending the local school advisory meeting and when I went into the Central office, my first meeting as an Assistant Superintendent seemed like an outlaw meeting. There were five members of the Board of Education, there was one Attorney with a petition for Brentwood to leave the county and go into the city. We had a county Attorney, there was a Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, and there was three of us Assistant Superintendents. That was the whole group. I was used to a bigger following.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So this was when you became Assistant Superintendent?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Yes. There is kind of a thread running through it. The feeling I had leaving a location like Cary where you had absolute cooperation and going to a county situation where the meeting was just an oddity. Well, I've skipped around a lot.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Well, that's all right. So now how long were you an Assistant Superintendent?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Until merger.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Until the City and County merged. So from '65?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
'75.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Okay, so when did you begin as Superintendent?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
in the mid-sixties.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Mid-sixties through '75. For about ten years.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Yes. I retired in 1979. I reached a point where… The pay pattern was terrible for everybody, teachers right on through, Principals and what have you, and I guess I made the mistake of going up to check on my credits and what kind of salary I could expect as a retiree and it was almost the same. I had the thirty years in, and that's the key. It just wasn't… I made a quick decision to retire and I've enjoyed it ever since.

Page 10
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So it was a good move for you.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Yes.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Okay. That's quite a career.
Can we go back for a minute and talk about when you were Principal. I'd like to talk a little bit more about integration if I could. While you were Principal, you had a student, the first male black student, come into your school, Douglas Pennington. Could you talk about that a little bit and how that went.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Yes. That was the most amazing situation. Even though on a non-paid basis, I was at the school all summer enrolling kids. I could still expect half the auditorium to be filled with new kids on the first day. So this black youngster came in without his parents, so I thought this is going to be interesting. I've got something like two hundred new kids to put in classes in the auditorium so I turned him over to a teacher that I knew she could handle the situation. What happened, it was noon by the time I got back to see what happened with the youngster. And he had those kids entertained, he was telling jokes and he had these Caucasian kids just eating out of his hand. We had the first Junior Beta Club in the State, the second one in the South. And within the year there was no question about him being selected.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Junior Beta?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Junior Beta Club.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Is that for gifted.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
No that's a take-off on the National Honor Society. Some took that and others took… Cary High just recently changed over from Beta Club to National Honor Society. So this young man, he was terrific. So you see, we integrated at the least expense to anybody. We gained so much by having a black youngster in our student body.

Page 11
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Wonderful. And in the following year were there more black students?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
I think about that time I was going into the Central Office. We just did not have many black families in the Cary attendance area.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
That must have made it difficult to keep up the percentage ratios that the laws mandated.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
There was no mandate at the time.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Oh, there was not.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
The Principal almost had the freedom to enroll any student in his district, but this was guidance of the Advisory Council.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Now were you Principal when they began bussing?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
We've always bussed.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Well, bussing black and white students into the other district. That had not started yet when you were Principal?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
No, we just had a group of high school students pay $20.00 a month to run the buses from their home to the school.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So that was just transportation, that was not to integrate the schools.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
No, that was just to get the kids back and forth. Back then, though, you take the area of the southern campus, the one that R.O. Heater had developed. One family that was a good example to me was a great big, two-hundred pounder lineman in football was allowed to ride the bus up to Cary Elementary and then get a connector to the High School, and his first grade sister wasn't allowed to ride the bus. She had to walk or her parents had to furnish transportation to the school.

Page 12
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Were they black?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
No, they were white.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Why was she not allowed to ride the bus.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Distance. If you were three miles, I believe, two or three miles from the destination school. If you were beyond that distance, you had transportation furnished. If you were closer, you had to get there the best way the parents could get them to school. So I dealt with bussing strictly on a student basis. I had some interesting contacts later. Since we had developed our own integration program in the County, constantly H.E.W. sent more often a surprise. But they were sending people to examine us and see if we were following all we said we were going to do.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Now, could you outline a little bit what your plan was? That you came up with your own plan for integration. Could you talk a little bit about what that plan was?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
You know, I'd have to review that a little bit. We just had committees within the County within each attendance area meeting and deciding how integration would take place. So it was done on a volunteer basis. But we would send a statement in as to what we were going to do and H.E.W. always wanted to send somebody to inspect us and see if we were doing what we said we were going to do. And that we would meet with [unknown] occasionally since he was the City Superintendent and he would have the biggest laugh over… All I do is go to the judge and I'm not going through all this turmoil of integrating. The judge tells me what to do, I do it, and I go home and I get a good night's sleep.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
But whatever you put together obviously met with the mandates of the laws that were being enforced at that time.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
They did. The group in Cary was very cooperative, mainly maybe because there wasn't many black families in attendance area.

Page 13
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
How do you think Cary compared to other parts of North Carolina and the South in terms of integration and how it went?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
In Cary it went beautifully. It so happens that when the decision was made by the Advisory Council recommended to the Board of Education to integrate, it made sense to put all the ninth graders over at West Cary. Out of three hundred and some ninth graders, thirty were black students. That was somewhat token. The people in that area, though, there was a certain element who were just opposed to… They took the case to court and protested integration. Just as soon as the case was presented to the judge, he immediately called a time out to confer with the two Attorneys and as soon as they returned to their seats, he said, "Case dismissed."
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So they threw it out.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Now the part of the situation was that we had a black Principal at West Cary. He was very careful. He'd come over and meet with the eighth grade kids in the auditorium and come over during orientation so that was the first formal look they had at him. He had a terrific personality.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So they got to know him a little bit a year before they joined his school.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Well, during the spring. Then he would have several Sundays when the parents were invited to come in and visit, so if people didn't know him, if the kids didn't know him, it was their fault.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So there were no surprises at that point.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
No surprises. I'll tell you, things operated so smoothly in Cary, you wouldn't believe it. You would have to experience it. And the key to me was the Advisory Council. The Advisory Council was very important. Whatever we got into, if there was a vocational program, a new athletic program, what-have-you, they'd raise the money to get it started.

Page 14
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So they didn't go to the Board of Education, they raised it themselves?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Well, they'd go, but the Board didn't have an awful lot of assets and so they'd just raise it. For example, I happened to have a Mongoloid youngster who is now deceased, but to get a program started that would include him would take twelve students. Okay, the state didn't allocate any positions. The first full-time person was Mary Atkins, we got a lot from her. The first kids that we got into her program became the vanguard for the Life Experiences group at South Hills. We started the program though at Apex which was formerly the school for black youngsters. Anyway, the PTA or the powers to be, I'd find notes and money in the darndest places. All according to what you would want to do with an exceptional child, for example, the handicapped kids, this will get you started.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
They would just give you money without being solicited?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Yes, and I would deposit it in the Cary account.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
What were your biggest challenges throughout your career?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
My biggest challenge was about a program for a group of talented kids that lived in Cary. And this caused me to go after a vocational program. And also at the other end of it, speech therapy, the kids that had mental challenges. All of our kids were not going to go to college. Most of them did. They need the vocational work to go into certain jobs. Well, back then one of the toughest things I did was to meet with the seniors. I regret that Cary didn't have anything to offer them. They'd have to go elsewhere. They knew it and now those kids have come back. I started with Ag. and Home Ec., that was the two vocations. By the time the high school element moved out to the present location, the automotive, electronics, you name it, everything except a nursing vocational thing had been added on the other campus.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
And you had none of that when you started out as Principal?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
I just had the Home Ec. and Ag. We had about two farms in the area, Kildare Farm, and a farm in the South Hills area. One challenge with that was to keep the Ag. program. Dad Dunham was the guy who made that move. We got with him and designed a program, horticulture type thing where the kids instead of having farm projects, 4-H projects, would have projects at home. Whatever.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
It was like homework for them?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
It was a local… I got by with it without being challenged, just a local home improvement type thing. I would assume you never met Mr. Dunham.

Page 16
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
No I didn't, unfortunately.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
You missed a prince. That guy was absolutely one of the best. He could handle a bunch of bus drivers so easily. Even after the high school moved out, he would come back and oversee the transportation system at the elementary gym. He'd come in afterwards and if there was anybody in the cafeteria why he would be just as kind as could be laughing, wise-cracking, just a labor of love when dealing with kids. I wish you had met him.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
I wish I had too.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
There is a Lucille Jordan who is now in a nursing home who was a Home Ec. person. Now between the two of them during the summer, the building next to the gym was known as a cannery, so people would bring in their farm and garden things and they would help to can and what-have-you. Of course again, they had full-time jobs since they were federal type things. So rather than just sit and do nothing they organized the cannery and helped people put up their produce. Just another thing about Cary. It seems like everybody was trying to find a way to improve the town, the school, the work.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
And it was a community effort.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
As part of this, we might cover with the recreation and the Cary Lion's Club at the time was about the size it is now. It happened that I was the Commissioner and the Cary kids were put out of the Raleigh program. I met with the Directors of the Cary Club and said, we need to do something about it. R.O. Heater was listening in around the corner. He offered us a field where the amp plant was located. We used that for two or three years until he sold it. We put up posts for the backstop. Herb Young got us telephone poles and what-have-you, and we put up a chicken wire backstop. We also had a parent who was on the faculty, I don't know if he was in the Music department. He sang the Star Spangled Banner for the first game. We really

Page 17
got it going real good. But where I had a youngster in the program who was assigned to a Pepsi team. There was a guy, everybody was involved. They raised money to pay the bills.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Talk a little bit about starting the Lion's Club, first of all and then how the Lion's Club and yourself got involved in a recreation program for Cary.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
I've alluded to it a little bit. The year I was away down at Colane, I joined the Lion's Club there.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
You left Cary for one year to teach?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
To be the Principal at Colane High School.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Okay, for just one year and then you came back to Cary?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
One year, I came back to interview at Fuquay and then I interviewed at Zebulon for Principal-ships. Paul Cooper found me in route. It so happened that we had a house rented not knowing how long we would be away. Paul came by and found me and said, "How about coming back to Cary?" I said, "You'd have me back in the District?" "Yes, indeed." I went to the nearest phone and called Fred Smith, that's the name I was trying to come up with. I called Fred and I told him about the positions at Fuquay and Zebulon, I was going back to Cary. He said, "Welcome back." He wanted to call the men at the Advisory Council to come in. In the meantime Paul had had some kind of physical situation develop in which Mr. Dunham finished out the year for him as the Principal. One of the physicians found the need to bleed him, and he just about died from lack of blood.
Anyway, as far as the Lion's Club was concerned, as soon as I came back to Cary, I got some of the folks together and we organized a club and so I'd been a Lion for one year longer than the Cary Club at that particular time. Again, to keep myself busy I hooked in with the Raleigh Recreation Department. In the winter I had basketball programs going on at various high

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school gyms, and in the summertime I was taking graduate courses at Chapel Hill and I would spend the morning and afternoon in classes. I picked up Red Diamond in Raleigh as soon as I could and be there until about 10 or 11:00 going to the various fields. So I was the Assistant Athletic Director for Raleigh Recreation. Suddenly one day I got a notice on my desk from the Director saying that the Town Council, last night, passed a motion that no kids outside the city limits of Raleigh would be allowed in the Recreation program. And I said, why? They just didn't feel it was wise to spend Raleigh money on county kids. Back then we had nothing by the way of… We didn't even have a bank, the Bank of Fuquay and Fidelity came in later. So we had to go to Raleigh to make all deposits. We had to go into Raleigh to shop. So I raised the question with them, I said, you know, they may think they're spending money on the Wake kids, but the fact of the matter is the county is providing quite a bit of space in Raleigh. No, they don't see it that way.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Now what year was this? In the fifties?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Yes, '56 or '57. So within an hour's time he had my resignation on his desk. I met with the Lion's Club and gave them… Well, our Cary kids who make up one field completely with Little League and are scattered throughout the other fields, they have no place to play ball. They've been tossed out of the Raleigh Recreation Department. So that's when they got together and Herb Young came up with the telephone poles, the chicken wire, we suddenly had a four team league started, if you count up all the kids in the Raleigh program. You might want to talk to a guy like Owen Cordel sometime. He's a member of the First Baptist in Cary. He was one of the first group of Little Leaguer's. He's a talented musician as well as being a very important member of that church. When Mr. Heater told us he just had an offer for the field that he just couldn't turn down, we had to begin to survey the area and that's when thirteen Lion's and about

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two J.C.'s and one exchange club member, we plunked down $25.00 a piece and got an option on where the Triangle Swim Club is now. Franklin Field was our first organized play.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Had the Lion's club purchased the land?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
No, we actually had… I don't know how we backed into that thing. I think we probably… That was the Cary Swim Club that came out of a fund raising thing at the same time we were buying the field. It's been such a long time [unknown] that we started Franklin Field and at the time the Methodists had their famous ham biscuits and what-have-you at the fairgrounds. With integration coming along, they got a little bit gun-shy and the next thing I knew, we were manning the booth, the Lion's Club was, but the Methodists were helping out a lot. We had a band director at the time and we had picked out a place for him to build a house, and that's where the shelter and the Lion's Park turned out to be. He left us before he could develop it and went to Elon College to be their man. So again, it's a case of Cary got very much involved in whatever was going on.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Well, tell me a little bit about Mills Field.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
That was another shock. I had umpired for about ten years, two games a night, six nights a week. And so when we set up that field, it was to be a practice field for the youngsters because it wasn't quite big enough for Little League play. I had a petition going on around the Club that it be named for Sorrel, that the Dad of the wallpaper Sorrel, and suddenly at half time, Clyde Keisler was with the Board of Education and also a member of the Lion's Club. He came out to make a proclamation, so I turned it over to him and got lost in the crowd, and the next thing I knew I was being summoned back. They had named the shelter for Sorrel and the field for me.

Page 20
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
That's wonderful. Now where is that field exactly.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
It's right behind the brick structure at the Lion's Park. You don't know Mills Field?
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
I just wanted to get it on the tape.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Okay. It's back of the church, to the side of the swimming pool. Now I probably lost you in a lot of places. Point me back to where you want me to be.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Okay, I'm just trying to follow the history here of the full recreation program for Cary once you got the field set up and you got things going, how and when did the City get involved, and how did that evolve?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
We begged the City for years to give us an allocation on the light bill. They could have had it operate as a bunch of individual lights if they had wanted to, or anyway they could have handled it, but they said, no, we might be setting a precedent. So we put up the lights and started playing at Franklin Field. It was recommended by Fussell to this superintendent to become his assistant, that meant at last I had a full-time job.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Year around.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Year around. With all the perks of sick leave and vacation time and all those things I didn't know before. He said you know, this is going to be a job that will be a full time situation because there are lots of things I want to do in the County and much of it is to duplicate what Cary has. Anyway, I'd called in the Mayor and Town reps and the next morning before I went to report for work, I said tonight we start a new thing. I'm not sure how much time I'll have to allot to umpiring, so you're going to have to get a recreation department started. So they had one person, a male to start with, and then a young lady followed. That was another thing that Cary got interested in to switch the interest from what the Lion's were doing to what the Town really

Page 21
needed. I'll bet you the Town's population was probably 15,000 at that time. But they got into session and they had an employee before the day was over to head up the Recreation Department.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Wow, that was fast.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
I think they saw it coming and realized they needed to get somebody started. I thoroughly enjoyed everything about Cary. They worked in the community that was so cooperative, so supportive. Whatever you got into that you could sell it to them, why. I don't know of anything… one thing that failed in Cary and that was the Tammy Lynn program. Are you familiar with that?
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Explain it to me again.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Tammy Lynn's mother was a beauty operator in Cary and she was so interested in… Tammy Lynn was a Down's Syndrome youngster. She kept Tammy in a little room right next to where she handled her patrons and did her beauty shop activities. She got to a point where she and I were originals on the Tammy Lynn project. She offered land to an outfit, but most of these folks came from Raleigh again and only two from Cary. They wanted it to be in Raleigh and that's where it wound up. But the only thing we could get them to do was to put in a daycare type thing in the Baptist church on Maynard Road. So they refused her offer. Later she got $4 million for the land she tried to give away. But Tammy Lynn is a lower functioning group of individuals compared to Life Experiences out at South Hills. What you have at South Hills is mental maturity of I.Q.'s are those groups from twenty-five to seventy-five. Tammy Lynn was probably somewhere in the twenties function. So I was disappointed when they turned down the land but I was so happy for the lady, she got $4 million for her land. They had a problem with Tammy Lynn until it was taken up with the… what is the outfit that raises money for various

Page 22
organizations? I'm drawing a blank. Anyway, they provided some money for Tammy Lynn and since then they've gone great guns. They've got…
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So it started out associated at the church with more or less just a day care facility for those folks?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
That's the only thing we ever got started in Cary.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
And what is it today?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Tammy Lynn, it's located near the Catholic School near Channel 5.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
In Raleigh? It got moved to Raleigh. And it's much bigger?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
It's going great guns now. We struggled while it was in Cary, but that's one thing we failed on. Well, we didn't fail either.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
It happened, though. It came together, so you didn't fail.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
What is the outfit that raises money for the various organizations in the County? They have a drive every year at various companies.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
I'm drawing a blank too. I'm sorry.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
I'll think of it later.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So you've been in the Cary area since 1953?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
With one year exception. I got out of the service and went back to Wake Forest and finished in 1949.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Other than what you've already told us about life in Cary, do you have anything you'd like to add to your life in general in Cary and about the Town?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
It just was a marvelous place to work. I had some second thoughts about going into the County as Assistant Superintendent. The thing that got me into it was I had just never had a full-time job as an educator.

Page 23
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Did you enjoy that job?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Not as much as I did the involvement in Cary prior to this. When bond issues came up, we always had to go with the city of Raleigh. They got half the bond issues and didn't need it. We got half, but the only votes we could count on being in favor was from Cary. Garner was so-so, once in awhile they would pass it. There was a lost colony up from Wake Forest if you look at the map we had to negotiate years and years ago for those kids to go across the county line to go to school. Well, they'd vote solid if there was a bond issue for the county because they had no benefit except the county was paying tuition for those kids to go to school across the county line. We called them the lost colony. I guess I had some pretty exciting times with the county. It just was not Cary.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Well, you weren't directly involved the kids then too, right?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
That's true. For example, the most involvement I got except working with teachers and principals and what-have-you, some of it had to be translated back to the local level or it didn't work. I could translate it. With our plan for integration, there were people who would come in from Washington, and I don't know why but they'd always send four or five blacks to examine our program. The first time they came in to meet with Fussell, he called the assistants in and said we had visitors today and they want to see our system. They thought they were going to see 840 laws of Wake County in just an hour or two. We didn't get through half of it in a day's time. Well, I had to be the smart-alec when they said they want to see what you got going on, I said you want to see what Boston has? "Oh no sir, we don't want Boston." Because I knew Cary had more black principals than the city of Boston had. But anyhow, among our visits we found that Garner made a note of a black physics teacher with all white kids and they wanted to know why. Well, let's talk to the instructor and see what he's got to say about it. The black

Page 24
students just don't want to learn. He preferred to have students that wanted to learn physics. One stop was out here at the edge of Fuquay and Apex. They went to a school there and again they had an awful lot to say. They called a time out, we need a conference. Why is there only one white kid in this third grade class. If you'd ask me I could tell you. Let's go across the hall and look at the other third grade. There were two white kids there. I said, this is a crime. But that's what our program said we would do. Those three kids ought to be in the same class, but it would be in violation. So they smiled and said, let's go onto the next thing. They found in one case a white bricklayer instructor in Wake Forest and all black students in bricklaying. They said we just hadn't forced the whites to go in there and the blacks seemed to go for the trade. They wanted to learn to lay brick. They even inspected our buses, counted the blacks and whites and we just had the best time with H.E.W.
Now let me see. Where did I leave off.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Well, are there any stories you can think of that you would like to share with us in parting about life in Cary in general, or anything amusing that may have happened over the years that you would like to share?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Well, I guess I've alluded to it in general. It was just a great place to live and anytime you wanted to start a program, if it was a case of meeting with the Advisory Council, explaining the details you had in mind, they would give me a go-ahead and wind up raising the money. It was just an amazing thing. I never worked in a community like that before. This takes us out of time a little bit. I was in Florida after our Little League program was over watching the state finals at Tampa Bay and I was somewhat concerned about how the mothers and fathers acted at the Little League games. I never heard so much profane language in my life as I did at Tampa. The umpires had to call out the Tampa police to arrest most of the coaches. They were

Page 25
just terrible. I left there and said, gee whiz, we have a wonderful little town in Cary. But I had examples, I tried to train the high school kids to be umpires. The high school baseballers. I would umpire second base with one behind the plate, and I'm afraid the guy was north of the Mason-Dixon, and he started raising the roof out in the spectator area and using all kinds of language. I called Time and went up and said, you know, you seem to know a lot about this game. How about giving us a demonstration of how umpiring should go. Well, if you get a nine-year-old, his knees are pretty close to the ground and you try to stoop down, and how he had a chest protector and all. He almost made it through two plays. He called time-out, and he came out to second base and he said, please let that kid have his equipment back. I won't say another word.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
That's great.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Well, that was not the usual. But we were beginning to get an element that had a lot to say that they shouldn't say. So this probably shouldn't be on your tape but we had a lot of interesting situations with the IBM'ers who came in, they'd take the ball over. One day I had a couple of sisters sent to the office and I had them repeat what they had said that the teacher was offended. Oh, we can say anything we want to, and you can't do much about it. So I dictated a letter to their parents indicating they were suspended and would be until the parents came by for a conference. Believe you-me, they were there that night. And I said, would you like, as we get started, let's get some background on this thing. Right off the bat the mother, which surprised me, they were from Providence, Rhode Island, said we're used to going to policemen in Providence and tell them to go to "H" and say anything we wanted to and they couldn't take any action on us or with us. I said, you know, we're not quite that sophisticated down South, but we have a certain lifestyle and if you'd like to take them back to Providence, I'll get the transcripts

Page 26
ready and you can be on your way. And right away, the father said, "no sir, no sir, we like it here. We will guarantee you their language will be cleaned up." So we had a number of interesting situations like that.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Some real culture clashes with all the incoming people from different parts of the country.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
I don't know what your background is, but some of the IBM people wanted to change Cary. They would have meetings on Sunday afternoons. I didn't have to walk far from the Chatham Street area to run into a meeting someplace.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
What did they want to turn it into?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Well, they just complained about everything that was going on, except it didn't bother me. That the District Principal of the high school was having a real tough time with silverware. They just couldn't keep it. It would wind up going into the trash and going wherever the trays were dumped. One of them brought up that issue. It was the most disgusting thing that that principal is so cheap. He would just issue what they needed. If a fork was only needed, that's all they got. So it was beginning to get ugly with public comment. First, Mr. Cooper was kind of straight from the shoulder. He'd tell you exactly what he thought about something and that was it. But I decided after that one meeting that, I'd been in on three or four others, that maybe IBM ought to take a look at what was going on. We sent some folks down to visit and right off the bat they recommended that, all we want to be is good citizens. We want to add to the culture of Cary, but if you don't want to help, go back to where you came from. I only had about three folks ask for transcripts. But I found IBM very cooperative. In fact I found everybody out at the Park to be cooperative. Our first group was Chem Strend. It turned into Monsanto, they merged. Chem Strend was from South Carolina and they would have a difficult

Page 27
time finding housing in Cary because they couldn't get the same quality house in Cary that they could get where they had left. IBM, they came in from all over and there were many cases where they'd put away half of what they sold their house for in California or wherever. They found the accommodations much cheaper. They were just as pleased as could be with it.
There's a story tied in with this seventeen acres, you might be interested in. I was looking for a place outside of Cary. At the Carpenter store about a mile and a half up here I ran into the owner and he said, yes, I have a seventeen-acre property that you can negotiate with me for, but I don't want any money. I bought this with a promise, it might have been $25.00 down, I don't recall the exact amount, but it cost every three months at six percent interest on the amount, which was just a fraction of what it's worth now. Well, I grabbed it real fast before I talked it over with the wife and I went up there. By that time she was the Secretary at Cary Elementary. She wasn't sure about it, but I'd made a deal. I learned a good lesson to talk things over with her. We usually talked but I was going to get away from me. And when the time came, it's been now eleven years, she's the one who wanted to build out here. I could have missed it real easy. But the tax base, it's about fifty times what I paid for the whole…
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Now when was it that you bought it?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
Early-sixcies, mid-sixties. I had just gone into the Central Office and was out here with a school in Durham. And I didn't miss an opportunity to check to see if I could find something that was available.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
It sounds like it was a wise investment then.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
It was a good investment. I must admit that eleven acres I have in a tree farm is not choice land at the back.

Page 28
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Oh no?
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
I have the six acres here. My daughter has the brick house. We have the garage apartment above it.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
This is wonderful.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
We had the chance to select our neighbors.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
I guess you sure did. That's great. Well, Mr. Mills, I really appreciate the time you spent with us today and sharing all of your memories and your history, your career, all the time you have put in with the Lion's Club and the recreation department for Cary, and all the other things you have experienced and done throughout your life have really contributed to our community. Sharing the information about it is going to be very helpful to us now and to lots of folks in the future, so we appreciate your taking your time today to give us this wonderful information.
CARL A. MILLS JR.:
The interesting thing about Cary is the people. The people were always interested in doing new things or in a different way. They helped quite a bit to initiate things to improve Cary. And it is just the most exciting place to work. So whatever has happened to me as far as Lion's Club is concerned, my career, recreation, what-have-you, it has been something. They responded to a need and it's something that the Cary people got involved in. Not me. I shouldn't get the credit for it.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Well, thank you very much for sharing that too.
END OF INTERVIEW