Sense of community at West Charlotte
Black emphasizes the enduring sense of school spirit at West Charlotte, in part enhanced by football games. But everyone might not participate in this feeling of belonging: Black thinks that students not used to such a racially diverse environment might be uncomfortable when they start school there.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Jeff Black, March 29, 1999. Interview K-0276. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Full Text of the Excerpt
PG: Well, of course West Charlotte is really known here in Charlotte, in the community around here, as an historically black school. It’s the only high school in Charlotte-Mecklenburg that used to be an all black school and still has all of these connections to the community. How do you feel about your relationship to that history? Do you feel that you have a relationship to that history of West Charlotte as a black school, or not?
JB: I think if you come here you have no choice but to feel like you belong, just because you see the huge amount of support that you get. You look at the football. There’s people that graduated from this school fifty years ago that still come to all the games. There’s just a tremendous sense of belonging in anything that has the West Charlotte attachment. You find that people love this school, and they support it. It’s supported by the community. It’s supported by all the alumni. Once you come here you just can’t stay away I guess.
PG: Do you think that black student have a different experience at West Charlotte than white students?
JB: I think white students that have been in a primarily white school are probably going to get an eye-opening experience just from surroundings. But, other than that, I don’t think so. I think that if everyone chooses to get involved in everything then I don’t think there’s a real difference, because I think everyone gets along pretty well here. But if you stay to your self, and if you just decide to stay with your race and you don’t go out to try to meet other people, then, sure, you’re not going to get the same experience as if you ventured out to try to experience everything.
PG: You’ve had a real integrated experience all along, I guess.
JB: I’d say I’ve had an extremely integrated experience.
PG: Do you live in an—?
JB: It’s a fairly integrated neighborhood.
PG: If you don’t feel like you can speak to this don’t feel like you have to. Do you think that there are some of the black students here for whom West Charlotte is a new kind of experience as well. You talk about the white kids for whom West Charlotte might be an experience. Do you think there are black kids for whom the integration of West Charlotte is something of a new experience?
JB: Yeah. I’d say there probably are a few predominantly black middle schools that people are coming from and that’s a new experience. But I don’t know. I guess there is. It was different for me just because I went to a predominantly white middle school. But I don’t know. It didn’t really make a difference to me because I wanted to see everything, and experience everything, so I don’t really think it made too much of a difference for me. I think you’re going to have your extremes on both ends.