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Title: Oral History Interview with Fran Jackson, March 23, 2001. Interview K-0208. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Jackson, Fran, interviewee
Interview conducted by Broadnax, Christa
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: 96 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.
2007-12-17, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Fran Jackson, March 23, 2001. Interview K-0208. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0208)
Author: Christa Broadnax
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Fran Jackson, March 23, 2001. Interview K-0208. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0208)
Author: Fran Jackson
Description: 100 Mb
Description: 26 p.
Note: Interview conducted on March 23, 2001, by Christa Broadnax; recorded in Durham, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
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 Fran Jackson, March 23, 2001.
Interview K-0208. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Jackson, Fran, interviewee


Interview Participants

    FRAN JACKSON, interviewee
    CHRISTA BROADNAX, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
This is Christa Broadnax interviewing with Mrs. Fran Jackson in the School of Education in room 02089 North Carolina Central University and today's date is March 23, 2001. Let's see. Well I guess I'll start off with asking a little background information. Where were you born?
FRAN JACKSON:
I was born in Durham North Carolina.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
And did you grow up in Durham or did you grow up—.
FRAN JACKSON:
I grew up in Chapel Hill.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Okay and what elementary school did you go to?
FRAN JACKSON:
I went to Northside Elementary, which was the historically black school.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Okay and after integration what schools did you go to?
FRAN JACKSON:
I went to Guy B. Phillips and Chapel Hill High School.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
I know that you said that you had two siblings, two sisters, what schools did they attend?
FRAN JACKSON:
Let's see. My—. The sister that is next to me she attended Northside for awhile and then she also went to Guy B. Phillips, and Chapel Hill High School. My youngest sister, who is five years younger than I am, she attended—. I think she attended Northside for maybe two years but then I think she

Page 2
completed her elementary schooling in a desegregated school. I am not sure which one it was.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
And she attended Chapel Hill High also?
FRAN JACKSON:
Oh yes, she attended Chapel Hill High and uh and Guy B. Phillips.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
And what about your parents. Do you know about their educational background or—.
FRAN JACKSON:
Yes my mother completed high school in Chatham County and my father completed the what was then known as the Orange County Training School, which later became—.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Lincoln High School.
FRAN JACKSON:
Lincoln High School.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Okay and what occupation did your parents have while you were in school?
FRAN JACKSON:
When I was in school my mother worked as a domestic and my dad worked as a—. He uh—. He was a builder.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
And you said that you lived in Chapel Hill, what area of Chapel Hill?
FRAN JACKSON:
I lived—. Growing up I lived on Graham Street my parents still live on Graham Street.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Still live on Graham Street. [Laughter]
FRAN JACKSON:
Yeah.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
And what was the community like around Graham Street?
FRAN JACKSON:
Okay it was an all black community. I thought that it was a very

Page 3
nurturing place to grow up. We knew everybody and everybody knew us. We grew up learning to speak to everybody or every black person that you saw and it was kind of funny because when you go outside of your area you still have that tendency. We also grew up with certain kinds of a-oh little mannerisms that people taught us such as you put a handle to every adults name. But rather than saying the person's last name we would say the person's first name. Like for example in my church there was a lady named Ms. Eva Barnett, but to this day I still call her Mrs. Eva. Most people in the church I knew by their first name. Ms. Nelly or Ms. So and So and to this day it is really difficult for me to call them by their first names. I can not do that without that handle to it.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Okay. Would you call the community tight knit? Was everybody pretty much getting along together?
FRAN JACKSON:
It was very tight knit. It was a very supportive community. And uh people were—. They knew, as I said, they knew each other they were very helpful to one another. If anybody in the community died or they had extended family to die then everyone in the community would do something. You know, bring a—. As we say bring a plate over or bring dinner over. They would do something in commemoration to that family that experienced the loss so it was definitely a tight knit community.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Let's see and what did community mean to you at the time?
FRAN JACKSON:
Community to me, in my opinion, was almost like an extended family. Now this is not to make you feel that it was all ideal and there that were no

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problems, there were and there was also some class division. And I think there was some division based on color and that kind of thing. But it was all; again it was still like a family. And what I mean by that is even within your family if think about there are some cousins that you may not get along with, but still if somebody attacked that family member you would jump in to support your family. And so I think that was sort of like our community we knew there were people who felt that they were a step above because of occupation or socioeconomic status. But in the final analysis it was interesting when if something happened we would all pull together regardless of what uh-of those barriers that we erected.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Right. Okay at what point did you realize schools were going to be integrated?
FRAN JACKSON:
Gee. I think I may have been about twelve or thirteen years of age. And I—. My parents and family, extended family, talked about integration and it was happening in other parts of the country. And I think my parents were convinced, as were many other African American families that an integrated setting would provide greater opportunities for us. So my folks were so intent on us going to the quote "white school" that they even, because bus services were not provided my parents sacrificed and they paid for a taxi to take us to school everyday. It was really several of us that rode the taxi so we kind of pulled together. But still my mother had two girls riding the taxi everyday to school. And there were about a total of maybe about five of us, four or five of us that rode the taxi to school.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
What was your reaction to integration?

Page 5
FRAN JACKSON:
To integration? Well it was really culture shock. I knew that white people existed, but I never had much contact with whites. And it was the first time that I really, really understood what racism was about. My family talked about it in so many words, but I never conceptualized what it actually meant until integrating Guy B. Phillips. And it was quite a culture shock. The other point, the other factor I think that played into that not only the racial differences, but the socioeconomic class differences. In my community we were considered reasonably as middle class as anybody. And I guess it is all relative because we had two parents, two parent home, both parents were working. And they provided for us reasonably well. But going to the white school we realized that gee their parents were generally—. Had more—. You know they were from more affluent backgrounds. And particularly here in Chapel Hill because of the University's influence. We were in classes with kids whose parents were physicians, and I don't believe that there were any black physicians or lawyers in Chapel Hill. And I think Chapel Hill is unique too because in Durham, and as a teenager I began to mingle with the kids from Durham, there were black lawyers and black physicians and so forth. But in Chapel Hill there weren't any.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Why do you think?
FRAN JACKSON:
I think it's because the university helped to maintain a plantation type environment. They, you know, used African Americans. And that was one of the reasons even today my father is very proud of the fact that he never worked for the university because he knew that he would always have a menial position.

Page 6
And so he always was his own, self-employed contractor and he made it a point not to do that. But the majority of African Americans that was the kind of positions that African Americans had in Chapel Hill.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Considering that Chapel Hill was supposedly a liberal area, do you think that that had, that should have played into anything or any part of the work force or—.
FRAN JACKSON:
I think Chapel Hill has a veneer of pseudo-liberalism. I think that a lot of people will talk the liberal talk but in terms of actually examining and looking at things—. For example I know that there was a big issue surrounding the workers who commuted from outlying areas to come to Chapel Hill to clean up the university. And I think that they, those workers have had to fight for everything that they have gotten. And I don't think that, I am not aware of very many faculty or others within the community who stepped in to support them a whole lot. I know that the university did not just offer a great deal of support, and in fact I know that at one time the university had a policy for these workers to come in at strange hours like three o'clock in the morning to clean up so that they would not be visible during the day. So that's my take on it.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Okay. When did you actually change schools?
FRAN JACKSON:
You mean what year?
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Yeah.
FRAN JACKSON:
It was either sixty-one, sixty-two I believe when I actually changed schools. I graduated from high school in sixty-eight. One day you'll say that. [Laughter]

Page 7
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
[Laughter] I think that now. I can't remember what happened yesterday. Okay. What activities did you participate in Northside?
FRAN JACKSON:
Oh! In Northside I was in—. We always had school plays. I was in all the school plays and all of the different activities that were held. Because it was an elementary school we did not have a lot of you know extracurricular kinds of the things that you associate with the high school. But what activities they did have, I participated in and I have a retired principal who had some old pictures showing us in school plays and different kinds of things. So while I do—. Can't remember everything I do recall that as being a very important time in my life, and a time when I, I was generally very happy and participated a lot. I've got somebody who needs to see me you want to just hit the—.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Okay. [Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Okay. What activities did you participate in once you went to high school?
FRAN JACKSON:
Absolutely nothing.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
And that was by choice or by force or—.
FRAN JACKSON:
Well I guess it was by choice but nothing—. It was not made inviting. No one made an effort to encourage me to participate in any activities at the high school. It just wasn't, it wasn't inviting.

Page 8
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Did you have any friends that went to school with you that you were close to like your best friend. Did they go—? I know they said that some students were chosen hand picked to move into the integrated schools. Did you have any friends to go with you or were all the students just, all the students just moved?
FRAN JACKSON:
Let's see. What happened in Chapel Hill was that the first African American student he was like maybe a couple years ahead of me and he went to Chapel Hill High when it was located on Franklin Street. Where you now have the CCB Bank and I think there's an ice—. Swensen's and those places. And after he and then a year after Stanley [Vickers] there were several other African-American students. I don't recall people being hand picked to attend but that may have been the case. And as I said earlier we sort of self-identified and were among the first to go to the integrated school. And then I think that the schools completely integrated in 6—. The first integrated class was in sixty-eight. [Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Okay. When you talk about, what did you say his name was Stanley other friends that you had, how did they and their families feel about integration? Did you all discuss it or—.
FRAN JACKSON:
I don't know if my parents discussed it with the Vickers family much. But I think the consensus within the African-American community at that time was that the desegregated school would offer great opportunities because there was a sharp contrast in terms of facilities between Chapel Hill High and Lincoln High.

Page 9
They had better textbooks and it was just pretty well known and my parents from their experience where they were in school and had textbooks with pages torn out because they were used textbooks from the white students. So they just made the natural assumption that it would be much better for us if we went to an integrated setting. So that was—. And I am sure there were, there might have been some discussions within the community but I think a large part of the decision making was based on their own history, what they knew from their experiences.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
And do you recall any black teachers being at the integrated schools when you went?
FRAN JACKSON:
When I first went to the integrated school there were no black teachers. When the schools actually merged in about sixty-seven there were a few black teachers, but a very few. And I do recall that the principal Mr. McDougle from Lincoln High School when the schools merged he became the assistant. And I think the biggest shock in the community was that we loved Coach Pierman who had won all kinds of state championships in the segregated Lincoln School. I think he became an assistant coach. And so—. And when they merged the schools the mascot was the Chapel Hill High mascot, which was the Wildcat. I think in recent years they now changed it back to the Tigers. But essentially everything about Lincoln High School was erased. And now that I think about it's almost comparable to the whole slave trade actually during the middle passage particularly in North America. The purpose was to erase people's connections to Africa. They mixed the slaves up from different groups so that they

Page 10
couldn't communicate with one another. Now it didn't happen like that but the fact is that when you merge these two schools and all of the symbols from one school were just completely taken away and everybody was reduced to a subservient position. So I don't—. So that is what I do recall.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
I recall Bob Gilgor telling us about how the archives from Lincoln High and all the sports trophies and all the momentos that had been saved were actually put in a dumpster somewhere. How do you feel about that?
FRAN JACKSON:
Well it's what I was saying earlier. It's just there was a deliberate attempt and I don't know if people did it consciously. I just think that, that the racism was so deeply embedded that everybody believed, including blacks, believed that the best way was to start in a whole new system. But their idea of that was to get rid of all that was black, all that came from the black system.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
That's interesting. What about the white teachers. What were your experiences with the white teachers when you first integrated?
FRAN JACKSON:
When I first integrated? For the most part I felt that the white teachers were rather insensitive. And in retrospect I don't necessarily blame them because I think that we are a products of our, of the context with which we live in. And they were just—. They basically ignored—. Now I know some of my friends can tell you some pretty blatant kinds of things that happened but from my own perspective I feel that for the most part the more subtle racism that they simply ignored and did very little to cultivate any type of relationship with us. So that was—. And as a

Page 11
result of my experience at Chapel Hill High I vowed that I would not go to a white, historically white college. And I must tell you that that was a time in sixty-eight when a lot of colleges were trying to quote "become more diversified", and they actively recruited African American students. But in my class of all the students that went to college, the majority students who went to white institutions did not graduate. And I know—. I can count, I know of at least four. And they were really, really bright people, really smart but they did not finish—. Three of them, two at least went to East Carolina. Maybe I shouldn't mention the institutions.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
[Laughter]
FRAN JACKSON:
But yes and I went to Johnson C. Smith.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Okay
FRAN JACKSON:
The best decision in my entire life. And after Smith I came back to Chapel Hill, got my masters degree at Carolina. And then after having taught for a few years I got my doctorate from Carolina. But that was a really wise decision for me to—. And I made friends that I still have today we get together and so—.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Okay. So does that effect your outlook on predominately white schools today or–?.
FRAN JACKSON:
You mean my experience?
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Right, right.
FRAN JACKSON:
I still feel that many predominately white institutions are somewhat insensitive, particularly to African-American students. I think that there has been an effort to make some changes. But I don't think significant changes have been

Page 12
made. And I think that the last institutions which will make changes are the major white institutions because they are benefiting from the privilege of being white institutions. And they feel that it's their way or no way. And I do feel that will be the last institution to make any major changes.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
I agree. Who was your favorite teacher and why whether it be before integration or after?
FRAN JACKSON:
Hmm. I have a couple of favorite teachers. One of my favorite teachers, and it's not because of any kind of, it's interesting because it was not because of any—. I was going to say because of any academic connection, but maybe yes. Let me explain. I had a fifth grade teacher who lived; she was rooming in a house two doors up from my grandmothers where I stayed a lot. And because I had problems with my leg, one of my legs when I was growing up, I rode to school with her everyday. And occasionally she would play rock and roll on the radio.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
[Laughter]
FRAN JACKSON:
And to me that just put her in a whole other dimension. So if I don't remember anything else about Mrs. Joyner, that is one thing that I will always remember. And I really, I really liked her for that because it made her more human. She was a good teacher too. There was another teacher that I have a great deal of admiration for. And interestingly she was one of the white teachers that I think made an effort; Zora Rashkis who is still living. She lives in fact not too—. We don't live too far from one another, and we both—. I had an opportunity

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to teach with Zora after I—. I was teaching in the public schools. And I think the thing about Zora was she tried to make a connection with all of her students. And one of the things that she did was she hosted a dinner in her home and she had all of her students to bring something for the dinner. And she just raved about everything that every student brought.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
[Laughter]
FRAN JACKSON:
And so she was quite a character.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Bob Gilgor told us about her.
FRAN JACKSON:
About—. Yeah.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Yeah.
FRAN JACKSON:
So she too is a —. And you all ought to interview her.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
I think somebody did. I think somebody already did.
FRAN JACKSON:
Okay. Because she is quite a character.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Okay. Who least favorite teacher?
FRAN JACKSON:
Oh! I think our least favorite teacher was, gee I had several [Laughter] . But one that immediately comes to mind was a home ec. teacher. I don't remember her name. But I just felt that she just impressed me as, as really just not to have—. As having a real aversion to black students. Now other students said that she said she said things to them and—. Oh I have a cousin who told me about the fact that in home ec you make, cook food, and somebody else made a mess but she made my cousin clean it up. I don't recall anything like that happening to me. But I just remember her as being really, very distant. And just,

Page 14
she just lacked personality. I don't know if it was mainly lack of personality or she was really—.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Okay. Let's see. What was your favorite subject?
FRAN JACKSON:
Oh my favorite subject was history.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Really?
FRAN JACKSON:
I don't know. Because I don't think it was taught very well. It was very traditional lecture. I remember being, I think I was the only black student in the honors history class. And I don't remember anything more than that. I always felt that this teacher got very nervous when we talked about slavery and that sort of stuff. So—. Yeah.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Let's see. What is one of your most memorable moments whether it be good or bad?
FRAN JACKSON:
At the high school?
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
At the high school.
FRAN JACKSON:
I don't have any, any one thing that stands out. I think the one thing that kind of, when I think about that time was, I remember during the breaks we would always—. We would have breaks during the day, and I know that all the African-American students kind of congregated and we just kind of congregated.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Congregated and talked [Laughter] .
FRAN JACKSON:
Stayed together and talked. And I just remember all those years thinking I'm getting out of this, and I do not intend to spend the next four years in this type of a setting. And I made it a point. So that was, that was the outlook on

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it.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Were you a very popular student at ah what is it Northside then Guy B. Phillips and—.
FRAN JACKSON:
I think I was reasonably popular at Northside. I had a lot of friends. And at—. Keep in mind I was generally, I was pretty quiet too and my parents were somewhat protective. So I got teased a lot for not being able to go out.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Go out and do all that kind of stuff. [Laughter]
FRAN JACKSON:
Go to dances. They used to have dances at the center and my folks wouldn't let me go. So that's another reason why I said this. [Laughter]
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
My mom was like that too. Do you think that your friends helped make the transition easier or was it just like a support system? You were a support system for each other?
FRAN JACKSON:
I think we were a support system but when we first integrated the school there weren't very many of us and we certainly relied on one another. And I think that that experience clearly shaped my life future life. I became interested in education and today my focus is—. I teach the cultural diversity course here. My focus is to sensitize teachers to the issues of diversity and its impact on teaching. And how a lack of sensitivity and failure to make a personal connection to students can really affect their ability to reach them and to teach them.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
That sounds like a good course. Let's see. What was a typical day

Page 16
like at school, in high school?
FRAN JACKSON:
In high school?
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
In high school.
FRAN JACKSON:
Oh my goodness. Gee I do recall by the time we got to high school we could ride the bus. We rode the bus to school plus at that point all the other kids were driving cars. [Laughter]
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Okay.
FRAN JACKSON:
Even back in the old days. So immediately that made a difference. Although some of the guys, some of the guys eventually got cars and that was really a big status kind of thing. We would ride to school. We had a few moments to kind of linger around. And again all the African-Americans kids congregated together. We'd talk about all kinds of things current events. We talked about the racial divide. And then we'd go to class. I remember a Spanish teacher; I didn't particularly like her either. She was just—
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
[Laughter]
FRAN JACKSON:
And I was one of the few African Americans in the Spanish class too. It was a, it was just a feeling, I don't know how to express this. But sometimes when I think about it it's just a feeling that gee you walked into a—. Have you ever felt that you walked into a room or walked into some place and everybody knew something that you didn't know; what the game plan was.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Exactly.
FRAN JACKSON:
And so that was kind of how I felt. It was just kind of hard to adjust to

Page 17
that.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
I came from a predominately white high school so, and I was one of the few quote unquote "smart black kids" at school so I know exactly what it feels like to walk in a just feel like everybody else is looking at you and have hidden agendas. I definitely feel that. Let's see. Where did you sit in the classrooms?
FRAN JACKSON:
Where did I sit? It really varied. But for the most part I think I sat probably closer to the back. When I think about it and think about all of my classes. I wanted to be as inconspicuous as possible.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
And where did the blacks sit in the cafeteria?
FRAN JACKSON:
Where did they sit in the cafeteria? I do recall that we all sat together for the most part. But I can not remember exactly where we sit, sat. I also felt that the athletes were better accepted you know among the white students.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Let's see. What were your administrators like? Did they accept the integration process or did they make it hard for the African-American students?
FRAN JACKSON:
I think they were—. I think they ranged. But it was either benign neglect where they just kind of ignored us or just out and out silly, ridiculous kinds of things. I think there was definitely a failure to pay attention to the African-American students. And I don't think anybody was courageous enough to step out and say that we need to do something to assure that these students feel more accepted and more comfortable in class. They just said wow let's get these people out of here. And maybe it'll get better with time. And to be honest with you I

Page 18
don't think that it has gotten better with time because if it had then we would not see this wide gap in terms of academic performance. And I don't attribute it all to socioeconomic differences. I think there is still a lot of, I think there is still a lot of racism in the schools and in society.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Let's see. Do you remember your siblings talking about their experiences that they were having at school?
FRAN JACKSON:
Well by the time—. Well my sister and I were in high school together for about a year. And then when I left and went to Johnson C. Smith, I know that they had some pretty difficult times. In fact it was when my sisters were in school that they had a little riot at Chapel Hill High. I think my sisters were kind of—. They were a lot more assertive than I. I am sure, I know that they were involved in all of that. And part of the, and definitely their concerns were legitimate. I mean they wanted better representation of black teachers. They wanted African-American history in the schools. And see being at Johnson C. Smith I was exposed to a lot of African-American history and I would tell my sisters about things. We felt again another sense of being deprived because I went to Johnson C. Smith you know it was the first time that I knew what the National Negro Anthem was.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Wow.
FRAN JACKSON:
I mean even in our churches I am sure we sang it. But it wasn't made known to me that this was the national black anthem. At least that's the first time I recall that, really knowing that. And I said wow this is opening up a whole new world. I mean there's a lot out there. But in terms of my sisters, yeah I think that

Page 19
for the most part they were very dissatisfied. But interestingly enough both of my sisters went to Carolina when they finished. [Laughter]
FRAN JACKSON:
I could not convince them to go any place else. And my second sister finished at Florida State. And so—. But my youngest sister finished Carolina. In fact she's teaching in the African,
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
AFAM
FRAN JACKSON:
AFAM department. She's doctor Register.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
OH! That's why you asked me about the—.
FRAN JACKSON:
Right.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Okay.
FRAN JACKSON:
So.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
I will have to make sure that I take one of her courses.
FRAN JACKSON:
Yeah. So—. But it has, as I said, it's had real major—. Because my oldest daughter went to the School of the Arts and she finished her college there. And she's really into the arts and could not have convinced her otherwise. But my youngest daughter is at Florida A and M.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
I have a friend there.
FRAN JACKSON:
Do you. And we, my husband and I both are products of historically black institutions. He went to Clark Atlanta [or Clark-Atlanta University]. And so we, we really wanted our children to go. And Nicole was—. She finished East Chapel Hill High and based on her experiences she definitely, it wasn't a

Page 20
question, she wanted to she said that she wanted to go to a historically black institution. The question was which one. So it's kind of interesting how things play out.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Let's see. How did you and your community and your parents feel about the closing of Lincoln?
FRAN JACKSON:
Umm. I think that there was a sense of sadness, but I also think that there was a sense of this is something that is inevitable, it's going to happen, it's got to happen. This is change we're making for—. At that time you know for progress. You've got to remember the context. You've got Dr. King talking about you've got to integrate, integrate, integrate. And I in retrospect, I think that we are all thinking about what did we lose in this whole process of integrating. And it's no doubt I think we did lose something. I think that if the integration had been—. What we did was to desegregate and as African Americans we merged in, in terms of our major social institutions. But we did not integrate. Integrate implies that there is, there are policies in place to insure positive intercultural interactions. And, and that did not happen. And I think today that schools are still quote "desegregated."
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
That's interesting. That's very interesting. [Laughter]
FRAN JACKSON:
Oh I'll tell you, I'll tell you some stories. When I got married my husband and I lived in Florida and we came back to Chapel Hill because he was in graduate school. And we were looking for an apartment. And I went to, what was this apartment? I can't remember the name of the apartment. We pass them, pass by them all the time. And the guy said "oh no we don't have any

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spaces available" [Laughter] . And this was in what seventy-four, seventy-five. So it's been, been interesting. And—.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
It's hard to believe that it's filtering down and just seems to not go anywhere.
FRAN JACKSON:
I know. Oh my husband was in Asheville working the summer before we got married and he called a guy in advance and said you know I understand you're renting rooms and I want to rent a room. The guy said sure, sure some on over. My husband went over and the guy looked at him and said I'm sorry Mr. Jackson there's just one drawback we don't rent to blacks. So—.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
And when was this?
FRAN JACKSON:
That was in, that was the summer before we got married. So that was in seventy-three.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Wow.
FRAN JACKSON:
But I think you're right. There are a lot of things that haven't changed.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
That's true. Let's see. This is one of the, of my favorite questions I wanted—. I was curious as to knowing if you had separate proms queens, separate dances, or separate anything in, in high school?
FRAN JACKSON:
Well you know what happened was we—. They did have separate dances but they were not sponsored I think by the high school. I think there was a group like today. You have your separate debutante balls and cotillions and so forth. But there was a separate group that had, that would have an annual formal

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dance at the Carolina Inn. And they really—. There were certain blacks that for whatever reason that they were really liked. And there was one young man who, who was really accepted into the, by whites and they invited him. And he asked me to be his date for that prom. And so that was the only thing that I know of that was definitely separated. They, I know that they elected one of my classmates, an African-American woman, a girl at the time, for homecoming queen. That was Sandra Farrington and she live in Chapel Hill by the way. And in fact it was so funny because I thought Sandra was very well accepted by the whites and I asked her about it. We happened to meet each other at the gym, women's you know gym, fitness club. And I said Sandra you know what was your high school experience like? We never talked. We were, we were classmates but—. And she said it was probably the worst years of her life. And I could not believe it. She would be an interesting person to talk to be—.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Yeah. I'll check into it.
FRAN JACKSON:
I know her last name, she may go by Sandra Farrington but she did marry. And I can't remember her last name.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
I'll put a check, a little star by her name so I can look for it. Ah let's see. Let's see. Do you feel like you had to work harder than the white students?
FRAN JACKSON:
Oh yes absolutely. And I did because there were a lot of little cultural nuances that I just wasn't very familiar with. And I guess you could call them

Page 23
rules of the game that just weren't made explicit to me. And [Pause]So yeah I did have to work harder. I did have to work harder and particularly in those classes where I may have been one of two blacks or the only African American. There was nobody to ask for clarification and if you go ask the teacher you still didn't understand what he or the teacher was saying. So yeah I did. And also you have, there's that extra stress and energy just trying to make yourself feel comfortable, and just trying to convince yourself gee you're competent you can deal with this. So it was, yeah it was working double time. So—.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Okay. Let's see. Did you participate in any of the movements? I know that you said something about the sixty-nine or the sixty-nine riots. Did you participate in any movements or activism or anything?
FRAN JACKSON:
Yeah a little bit. But it's interesting because by the time they were demonstrating in Chapel Hill again my parents being very protective didn't really permit us to participate. But we would, we would participate a little bit. I never went to jail.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Okay. [Laughter] .
FRAN JACKSON:
If that's the question.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
No. No.
FRAN JACKSON:
I did march a couple of times.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Okay that's more of the question [laughs].
FRAN JACKSON:
And I did go to the church and you know sang some songs and, and listened to the speeches. After I got to college though I did, I was pretty active on

Page 24
campus in different activities and things like that. But in yeah—.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Let's see what motivated you to be an educator?
FRAN JACKSON:
I think I've kind of answered because of my experiences in school. And when I was growing up the teaching profession was still in my community, was still viewed as an honorable, worthwhile, respected profession. And so I thought that that was a worthwhile career for me.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Okay. Let's see. We discussed about the school systems how they haven't really changed; do you have any relatives now that attend the Chapel Hill School system?
FRAN JACKSON:
Chapel Hill School system? Ah no I don't.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Okay and the last question that I want to ask, you can take a little time to think about this one if you want to, How has your experiences shaped your character?
FRAN JACKSON:
Um
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
You can take a little time and think I know that's a hard question.
FRAN JACKSON:
Well as I said earlier I think it clearly shaped my career path, my interest in education, and interest in working towards insuring that schools become more responsive to the needs of all students. And I think that it has definitely shaped my character. I find that I am very interested, even today, in issues related to civil rights, equality, and all of those things. And I am sure that it is a function of the kind of experience I had in high school. And my commitment to, to maintaining the integrity of historically black institutions. I mean I am working at a historically

Page 25
black institution. And [pause]. So I think that that experience clearly shaped my mind, shaped me as a person. And think it's kind of interesting that so much of what I do, I take students to Africa for study abroad experiences. And one of the things that is kind of interesting to me is that they bring with them their, their cultural baggage. So even though they meet people who look like them, they're expecting them to think like them, and they are disappointed sometimes I think when that doesn't turn out to be the case. Particularly when we talk about race relations. And my travels in Africa have certainly you know given me a much broader perspective, but everybody hasn't, we don't have the same shared legacy. So—. But I think we clearly have some connections, some cultural connections that—.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Right. I was just about to ask you that.
FRAN JACKSON:
That can not be broken. I mean it's just amazing to me when I think back of our interaction styles, and different things. It's kind of interesting, our connections with Africa, really.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Yeah. Well that's it unless there is something else it's something else that you would like to tell me or share with me.
FRAN JACKSON:
No. I think that your questions were excellent.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Well thank you.
FRAN JACKSON:
I think that you covered the waterfront.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Thank you. Thank you.
FRAN JACKSON:
I think that this is a worthwhile project. It's really worthwhile, and

Page 26
what's really important is that young people such as yourself, you're gathering this information and your mom probably can contribute to this. So—.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
I've actually interviewed her one time before and along the same lines. And some of the things she told me about being displaced and how the teachers treated her were something similar to what you told me today.
FRAN JACKSON:
Oh really. Okay.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Yeah. But I thank you.
FRAN JACKSON:
You're more than welcome And I definitely would like to see how you all handle the end results of this.
CHRISTA BROADNAX:
Okay.
END OF INTERVIEW