West Charlotte's togetherness outweighs racial issues
Black believes that racial issues are "stressed a little bit too much." He thinks that school spirit overwhelms racial difference, and that focusing on activities like football games helps draw together people from different backgrounds.
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: Sometimes when I talk to people about West Charlotte, one of the interests of this project is integration. One of the reasons that we picked West Charlotte was it was an example of a school that both had this history as a black school but that also had this successful period in integration. But sometimes when I’m talking to people and I ask a lot of these questions I wonder if those are really the most important questions to ask. Asking about race relations. Asking about how students interact. If that really is what sums up the experience at West Charlotte, or if that’s kind of going off in a different tack. What’s your perspective on that?
JB: I’d say that the race relations issue tends to be stressed a little bit too much, but I think that was just because of the stuff that’s happened over the past few years. Yes, I could expect for people who weren’t here to be inquisitive about it. But I think that you find, I guess it’s with anywhere, any school that you go through, if you care about your school then you’re going to have that sense of belonging and that everybody will pull together. I think that’s what makes West Charlotte so beautiful. It’s that everybody pulls together for things. Most things are supported extremely well. At a football game you’ll see white people sitting next to black people, black people sitting next to Asian people, Asian people sitting next to Hispanic people. It doesn’t matter because we’re all there for the same thing.
PG: How do you get that sense of belonging? How does the school create that?
JB: I don’t know how it started, but whatever it is it’s contagious. People just, gosh, I’m not sure. It’s hard to describe. I just felt like, “Hey, this is West Charlotte. This is my school. We’re doing great things, and I want to be a part of it.” I think everybody just wants to be a part of something. Once you’re at the top I guess everybody wants to stay there and everybody is willing to come out and support it.