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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Joanne Peerman, February 24, 2001. Interview K-0557. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Black students seek to integrate student activities

Participating in protests made Peerman and her fellow African American students feel powerful, she recalls in this excerpt. This sense of power animated her determination to completely integrate Chapel Hill High School, club by club.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Joanne Peerman, February 24, 2001. Interview K-0557. 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: We haven’t talked about Chapel Hill High School. You went to the high school in ’70? JP: ’70 to ’73. BG: And that was after the riots had occurred? JP: Yes. BG: Can you remember what it was like, at Chapel Hill High School? JP: It was pretty normal I guess. I think that the riots of sit-ins or marches had paved the way so that when we got out there we did have more voice and more representation on various clubs and squads. I was a cheerleader in high school for two years there. It was basically all right. We felt very powerful. We felt like we had made change, we had made our stand. The news was full of information on black things going on around the country. We felt we were right in there with it. We were comfortable. We didn’t feel intimidated or anything. We felt it was our school as much as theirs. We all came there together. We didn’t feel like it was their school. It was a new school so it was new to both races. BG: Did you feel the walls that people have described between the races in the high school? JP: Not really. I didn’t because I had that attitude of always forcing my way into anything that was all-white or anything that tried to keep black people out. If this was supposed to be integration, we’re going to integrate this sucker, you know. We’re going to make sure there’s a black person, if it’s just one token black person. We’re going to be sitting in there listening so you all are not planning on, you know, poisoning the lunches on Friday or whatever. We just felt like we had to have our nose in as much as we could.