Documenting the American South Logo
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Saundra Davis, May 12, 1998. Interview K-0278. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Forced integration is doomed to failure

In this excerpt, Davis shares her belief that forced integration has not accomplished its goal of equalizing opportunities for white and black children. She worries that any progress integration may have made has slowed, and that forced integration was doomed to failure because force breeds resistance. And white children still have more opportunities than black children, Davis thinks.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Saundra Davis, May 12, 1998. Interview K-0278. 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

Some things are better, I think, in the schools. One reason is, I guess, because there’s been so much publicity about it. But it will do all right for a while, then it flares up again, so what does that tell you? Are we making progress or are we not? I don’t feel like we’re moving too far ahead now. I don’t. I feel like the only things that they have really done is because they were forced to integrate. Forced to integrate. I feel like if it had been done by the people ourselves instead of the law making us do it, it probably would have been better if the people had carried it out. But when you start forcing people to do things, now you know how that is. Because if somebody forces us to do something, hey, I’m not going to do it because they’re forcing me to do it, or I’m not going to do my best. I’m just doing it because they made me do it, just show that I’m putting forth some effort. PG: Do you think when you are talking about these changes, do you think that your grandson’s experience is different from your children’s and yours? Is West Charlotte a different kind of school now, or maybe it’s hard to say? SD: I’ll say it like this. It’s hard to really compare because of the fact that I wasn’t in the integration itself. When I went to school we weren’t integrated. Since it has been integrated now our children get some chances, but I still feel like the white children have the better chances. I really do. The better choices, they get more scholarships. They get to go more places. They get to do more things. There’s no way in the world that you’re going to open The Charlotte Observer and look in that paper and see all of these white kids with all of these scholarships, Morehead and all the rest. Excuse my French, but I’ll be damned if that’s so because we’ve got plenty smart black children around here. We have plenty of smart black children around here. They are not getting the chance. My grandson will graduate in June, and I’m going to have to go to the school myself because this boy has been making straight A’s, too. He hasn’t made them all the way through school, but I know his average is high enough to be in the honor society. Do you think they have inducted him into the honor society? I told him, I said no. Here he comes now. Bless his heart. There’s no way in the world. Those teachers should be up there checking all of the student’s records. If they have the average, I know it takes more than an average. It takes personality and a whole lot of different things. But this child, and I’m not saying it because he’s my grandson, but he is number one. Everybody talks about what a sweet person he is, as far as personality and everything. He should be in the honor society, and I am going to find out why not.