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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Thurman Couch, February 12, 2001. Interview K-0537. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Sports instill pride

Couch recalls how athletics at Lincoln, especially the football team under Coach Peerman, instilled a deep sense of pride. The parties responsible for integrating Chapel Hill schools proposed delaying integrating the football team until the second year of integration, but the proposal lost. Couch and his teammates "brought winning pride to Chapel Hill High School."

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Thurman Couch, February 12, 2001. Interview K-0537. 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: What was it like when you were younger, with regard to sports? Did you see these football players when you were young? TC: Every day the most beautiful thing I ever saw was, when they came by my house before football practice, they came by there everybody, ?, Toro, all of them. Everybody. Fred Ball, everybody, all of them. Everybody come by, everybody walked past my house as a kid. And I’d be sitting there on my steps and they’d have their books, big Toro, they’d be walking through there. But they’d walk with so much pride. And I would tip down to the field when I was a young boy and look at them and watch them. And I said one day, I’m going to be like that. But then you got to know what it’s like to be on a winning team or be around a winning attitude with a guy like Peerman. And when the school adapts the whole, when the school is into athletics and everybody’s in, and it’s unity, it’s in the cafeteria, it’s in the classroom, it’s everywhere. RG: Pride. TC: Pride, man. Pride. It’s the biggest thing of all. And when I think about it now I get charged up. I use it on my children now. Same thing. Let’s go. My daughter Jessica is, she’s in 7th grade. She’s playing basketball now. I got one now. That’s my oldest daughter, Courtney, out there, she’s the academic. But you know, Lincoln? Pride, man. But I want to talk a little bit about um, I just want to say this to you. Mrs. Edmunds and the things that we did, we were a unique group. We are the group. We are the ones. Because what they wanted to do at first, after all this stuff is going on, they wanted to say, we gonna go to this new school out here, Chapel Hill High School, and you guys can join us next year, since this is the first y ear. This was their proposal, okay. We’re not going to integrate totally this year, it’s gonna be too much. And that we are going to integrate it the next year, you give us a year out there to get things straight, and then we’ll put you black kids in the next. We voted that down. RG: How did you vote that down? TC: Mrs. Edmunds, our guidance counselor brought that to us. Told us that we had, I’m not sure what the procedure was or how we went about it, but I know for sure we voted that down. We said, we are going now. RG: Did you vote, or did your parents vote? TC: I can’t remember the process. RG: But somebody voted, and you voted against— TC: Waiting another year. RG: Waiting another year. Why? TC: Because we were going to make it our school, as well as theirs. It wasn’t going to be just their school any more. It was going to be our school. And we were the first ones in there. We brought winning pride to Chapel Hill High School. I’m the eighth outstanding senior. I was the president of my junior class. And the eighth outstanding senior chosen at Chapel Hill High School. I captained the basketball and football team.