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Oral History Interview with Jeff Black, March 29, 1999. Interview K-0276. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    African American senior Jeff Black reflects on his experiences at West Charlotte High School. Black felt West Charlotte's ties to his community well before he set foot on the school's campus, and like many of his peers, he eagerly anticipated beginning school there. He was not disappointed: at West Charlotte, Black found an intellectually stimulating, socially energizing, and racially diverse environment that allowed him to commit himself both to reaching his individual goals and strengthening his community. But Black admits that West Charlotte is not immune to the legacies of segregation: students tend to self-segregate in the cafeteria, there are few minorities in advanced classes, and the administration limited marching band routines because, surmises Black, they reflect an aspect of black culture the school does not want to associate itself with. He nonetheless believes that West Charlotte's "contagious" sense of belonging outweighs racism. Black's experiences at West Charlotte have been so positive that he tells the interviewer that "the race relations issue tends to be stressed a little bit too much." He believes that individuals have to choose to mingle with people from different backgrounds.
    Excerpts
  • West Charlotte activities generate excitement
  • West Charlotte gains strength from diversity
  • Students self-segregate by race in the cafeteria
  • Tracking reveals lower test scores for black males
  • Sense of community at West Charlotte
  • Worries about plans to rework racial composition of Charlotte schools
  • West Charlotte's togetherness outweighs racial issues
  • West Charlotte changes marching band because of racial identity
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Resources for Educators
  • Race in Charlotte Schools Learning Object
  • Subjects
  • School integration--North Carolina--Charlotte
  • West Charlotte High School (N.C.)
  • Charlotte (N.C.)--Race relations
  • Irons, Ned
  • Schools--North Carolina--Charlotte
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.