Documenting the American South Logo
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Stella Nickerson, January 20, 2001. Interview K-0554. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Close ties between teachers and community

In this excerpt, Nickerson remembers the connections that flowed between school, home, and church. This connection gave life to the community, but also meant that the code of behavior enforced by teachers often followed students home.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Stella Nickerson, January 20, 2001. Interview K-0554. 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 the teachers live in the same area that you lived? SN: Yes, some did. The principal lived on the street behind us. BG: Mr. [Peace?] SN: Mr. Peace. He lived behind me when I was at Lincoln. Mr. McDougle lived sort of diagonal from me. BG: They were right out there in your face. SN: Oh yeah. And some of my teachers went to school with my parents. Or went to school with my aunts, or somebody in my family. So, you know--. BG: Did they socialize with your parents or with people in the community? SN: Yes. BG: Did they go to the same churches? SN: They’d go to the same churches. Or I remember a couple of teachers were friends of my aunts. And they still are. Yes. BG: Did you look at the teachers as friend or foe? SN: They weren’t foes, so they must have been friends [laughs]. BG: What happened if you misbehaved? SN: Ooh. Well, it’s basically, you got it at school and you got it again when you got home. You got a lecture at school and you got a lecture when you got home. It wasn’t as if what happened at school stayed at school. Your parents would find out about it. BG: Right away? SN: Well, by the time you got home. BG: That’s right away [laughs]. SN: Well, it wasn’t like two or three days later. And so basically you just behaved yourself. I wouldn’t say I was a behavior problem. By the time I got to the next grade I tried a couple of things and I learned very quickly that wasn’t going to go so I, you know, straightened up. BG: How important was the school to the community? SN: I would say it was very important. It was a connection. It was something that the communities could say was definitely theirs. It was a gathering place. And Chapel Hill was very proud of Lincoln High. It’s not just the band, or the football team. But we had very high standards in the classroom. You didn’t slack off there, you worked. And if you didn’t work, then there were consequences.