Anticipating the ill effects of desegregation
The Iredell community knew that desegregation was inevitable, yet did nothing to prepare for it. The black community anticipated that black students would pay a price as black students scattered throughout the area in unfamiliar schools with unfamiliar teachers. Campbell himself left the principal's post.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Leroy Campbell, January 4, 1991. Interview M-0007. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#40007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Full Text of the Excerpt
- GOLDIE F. WELLS:
How did the desegregation of schools affect your role as principal?
- LEROY CAMPBELL:
Well, we knew it was going to happen. There was a running battle almost
like Romel in North Africa. No community wanted to desegregate. The
communities were unable to prepare for desegregation and they
didn't. Our community did nothing to prepare for
desegregation. The law said there will be no more separate schools but
there was no preparation made. Each year they said that you could have
an assignment you know and they would just assign the least number they
could. That was always traumatic to the staff. There was no preparation
for it. Dr. Newsome will be buried tomorrow. He was the only person to
be employed and that was after we had Title I to hold county-wide
workshops in desegregation. So we
didn't have preparation for it. Now it affected me because
the trend was that almost all schools that were segregated you took from
the Black schools and added to the White schools. So we knew that the
staffing was going to be changed and the schools couldn't be
built for the convenience of the Black population because the population
was so scattered as a result and many of them were inferior in
construction so most of them looked forward to--like I said I will be
very glad when people will do fair things to people and with people.
When we looked forward to desegregation we were not ignorant. We knew
that we were going to pay a price and we had workshops on the price that
we were going to have to pay. We were going to be out of field and we
were not going to get the support and we were going to be assigned and
have students and parents that were not going to be easy to work with.
The parents were going to come in and fuss with the principals and say
that they weren't going to have a Black person to teach their
children and they did all those kinds of things to the teachers. And
then in 1969, when almost everybody had to do it then the entire high
school left and was assigned to all the high schools in the county so
the school was left then with 13-14 teachers at the elementary school
for one year. That is when East Iredell was built. I went from a 36
teacher school to a 14 teacher school at an elementary school.