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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Madge Hopkins, October 17, 2000. Interview K-0481. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

West Charlotte's reputation precedes it

West Charlotte's reputation made Hopkins very excited to start school there. That excitement was no doubt enhanced by her daily walk to school, a virtual parade through district neighborhoods. She recalls the "myth that we lived in," that West Charlotte was a special school attended by special students.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Madge Hopkins, October 17, 2000. Interview K-0481. 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

PAMELA GRUNDY:
And then you come to town and you go to Northwest and then you go to West Charlotte, just to move a little bit. Do you remember your first day at West Charlotte? Or do you remember anticipating going to West Charlotte? Was this something that was . . . ?
MADGE HOPKINS:
Oh yes, we anticipated. We graduated from Northwest and we moved on up to West Charlotte and it was exciting. And walking up because, you know, we walked. I lived down near Johnson C. Smith and we walked all the way. We didn't catch the bus, we didn't catch the city bus, we walked all the way up to West Charlotte and you started and people, children, students started as far down as Five Points. There were families down there and you just gathered. People would pick up your stuff at someone's house, pick them up, wait for them and there'd just be this parade walking up to school.
PAMELA GRUNDY:
And what was going on as to what was exciting about West Charlotte that was . . . ?
MADGE HOPKINS:
Clubs, events, football, a big library. [laughter]
PAMELA GRUNDY:
Hm-hm. For you.
MADGE HOPKINS:
Advanced subjects, more independence, just the thought of high school. There's that big step coming from junior high. It's reputation, I knew it was West Charlotte. The best of the best. It wasn't Second Ward, it was West Charlotte. It wasn't , it was West Charlotte. Major special. It was just like there was Brooklyn and there was Bittleville and if we could divide the black communities, Bittleville was the upper crust, Second Ward was the working class, not that . . . there were more middle class and the girls from West Charlotte were the most popular. You had arrived if you were at West Charlotte. That's the myth we lived in.