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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Burnis Hackney, February 5, 2001. Interview K-0547. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Remembering R.D. Smith

Hackney does not remember teachers coming very frequently to his home, but that did not prevent him from developing a hearty respect for certain teachers. Among them was R.D. Smith, nicknamed "The Master" because of his talents as a craftsman. This excerpt offers a brief look at one of the iconic teachers at Lincoln High School.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Burnis Hackney, February 5, 2001. Interview K-0547. 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

BG: Did teachers or Mr. McDougle ever visit your farm? BH: The teachers, a few. There were connections with the family. Mr. Peerman, William Peerman, when I took driver’s ed he would come to pick me up and then once we were done he would take us home. For the most part, we didn’t have a lot of interaction in the home with the teachers. Being outside of town, I guess, maybe--. BG: You had mentioned RD Smith as a teacher, a strong teacher. Can you explain more about RD Smith and what made you say that he was a strong teacher? BH: RD in a sense probably would rank behind Mr. McDougle in terms of a legendary figure within the history of the school community. Don’t know that he was vice-principal at that point but he later did become at Chapel Hill. There was a name that people had for him behind his back. I never heard anyone call it to his face, although I had the opportunity working for RD as I grew up. I had the opportunity of working with him very closely and it’s been a blessing to do that. He was called the master. BG: Master? BH: Yes. It’s something that preceded me but what I gathered from this he was an industrial education instructor. A big portion of his educational contribution, I guess at least early on was teaching different crafts, teaching people to be a craftsman. Whenever you had a project or something to do it had to be done to perfection. He knew how to do everything, he knew when what you did wasn’t just quite right, and so that’s how I took that characterization of him, his nickname of the master. BG: Did he teach values also? BH: Yes, he did. He taught values and he like a lot of the others, not all, were operating on an intensely personal level. I mean, if you have a problem they approached you as a person with that and tried to stress the importance to your personal development that you get things together and operate in a certain manner. He was one that did this. He drove the bus for the football team and so we got to travel--.