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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Fred Battle, January 3, 2001. Interview K-0525. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Lincoln High School's PTA contributes much to resource-poor school

The Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) was an essential part of the African American educational experience before integration, Battle remembers. In concert with the local church and wider community, the PTA "was one of the cornerstones of the school system," raising money to provide resources black schools lacked. In part because of the PTA's efforts, Lincoln High School maintained a remarkable marching band.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Fred Battle, January 3, 2001. Interview K-0525. 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

RG: Let’s go back to the school. I’d like to talk to you about the PTA. Were your parents involved with the PTA at Lincoln High School? FB: All parents, just about, were involved in PTA. PTA was one of our cornerstones of the school system at that time. And especially when you’re lookin’ in terms of lack of resources of whatever. You had networking going on: the PTA, the church, the community. And all of them, they came under that umbrella of the PTA. RG: What did the PTA do for the school? FB: Well PTA was one of the chief fundraisers for the school. Whatever was lacking – band uniforms, sometimes curtains for the stage, lines or stuff for the gym or scoreclock for the gym – the PTA was instrumental in providing those type of resources for us. RG: So how would they raise the money? FB: PTA could, they would generally have fundraising, to raise money, whether it was plate selling or whatever, they would ask for contributions from their community. They managed to get the money some way. They were a driving force. Just like, I know we forget, and I don’t know, one of the things in the school system that was probably a big cultural event was our May Day. You know, you’d be surprised at the number of people that would come out on May Day, Ma 1st every year, and see, we would have a program that the school would manifest. Wrapping the pole and stuff like that. And each class would be responsible for performance, some type of drama task. But it was an activity that brought the community together again. And it steady remains in my mind, of how we were able to get together. And how the school itself participated. How the community supported it. How everybody felt like they were part of it. RG: So when you say the community together, do you mean the African American community or do you mean the white and the African American community? FB: We’re talkin’ about the Afro-American community, because they were the primary supporters of it. Getting parents out to see their children participate in programs was big. RG: Can you tell me about the band at Lincoln High School, and their community performances more specifically? Anything you want to say about the band, but also about when they marched in the Christmas parade and Homecoming, and the response to it. FB: Well, this is one of the, probably it’s the biggest activity that we had, seein’ the performance of the band.I don’t know whether you remember a couple of years ago, when Hillside used to come in with their band, and the amount of attention and excitement that was had over that. People enjoyed the majorettes. They were down, in terms of performance. Execution was just about perfect. We used to have some nice-looking majorettes, and occasionally you’d have people out there that were spectators that tried to grab ‘em, you know. The band was one of the highlights. When you’re talking about Lincoln, you’re talking about the Lincoln band, you’re talkin’ about the athletic programs, you’re talking about the educational programs. And I think a lot of that is what excelled. They had a concert band too. They did. They would play just in concerts. And that was super. We’d do that for graduation or whatever, you know. So the band was one of the highlights of the area. It was magnificent. RG: Did they march in the Christmas parade? FB: Well, they marched in the Christmas parade. We had a Homecoming parade, and then we were invited to participate in the other Christmas parades and other Homecoming parades in other cities. RG: Oh, where did you go? FB: We went to Durham, I think we went as far as Greensboro.