Relative calm during first year of integration
In this excerpt, Hackney reveals that he did not experience racist treatment from white teachers at Chapel Hill High School. Racism was a broader societal problem, he recalls, rather than one that showed itself on a personal level. Nor did white students reveal themselves to be particularly racist.
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 you feel that you were treated the same as a student as the white teachers as the whites were treated when you went Chapel Hill High in ’66?
BH: I don’t have a recollection of being treated differently it’s just maybe a sense of identifying with their teacher or the teacher identifying with me. Basically, I went to a class and I tried to grasp what was being disseminated and tried to score as well as I could on the tests and that was it. There was no attachment beyond that as far as myself. I can’t imagine and I could even be a minority among the blacks, I can’t imagine the whites taking a sullen approach, it had to be more of an identification there. They probably knew the teachers prior to that particular time but I didn’t really identify with them and I don’t feel that they identified with me. I don’t have a bad memory of a particular teacher of just this person being a racist. Racism still was something that wasn’t really dealt with on a personal level that much. It was more like a societal type thing that certain things had to change within society and not this particular individual has got to change. I didn’t really have a racial problem with any of the teachers that I was aware of at that time.
BG: How about with the white students, was there verbal taunting or physical abuse that you saw or felt?
BH: There was some but I gathered in ’66 and ’67 it was mainly everybody just kept their distance. We were here but you go your way and I’ll go mine. It was more mutual respect or mutual disrespect. There were a few individuals, a few confrontations, very few that occurred of a racial nature. But then later on tensions did develop up to a higher lever in subsequent years.