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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with E. V. Dacons, March 4, 1991. Interview M-0009. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Powerful role segregated schools held in the black community

Dacons describes the segregated black school as the heart of the black community. It unified blacks' thinking and goals, and elevated parental support of student activities. Dacons argues that principals had a more powerful role than they currently do. Because parents saw principals as an influential force, they never questioned a teacher's or principal's authority. He asserts that with desegregation, black parents became unclear of the bureaucratized roles of school staff.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with E. V. Dacons, March 4, 1991. Interview M-0009. 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

GOLDIE F. WELLS:
Now how did you see your school, Lincoln Heights, what was its relationship to the community?
E. V. DACONS:
The center of the community. All of your community activities in addition to what had out there but you might say it was the solidifying factor, the institution that really gave the oneness of mentality here in terms of direction of Black folk. You knew here where we were. You knew all the way from Boone over to the southern end all the way to Roaring Rivers which is the northern end of the county. You knew what Blacks were thinking. Our goals, I represented the core and so it was the huddle of activities here. They looked forward to and had tremendous support for all athletic programs. When it came down to your culture program, your coral group, your band, and what have you the people rallied around that kind of thing and were willing to have all kinds of money raising projects to keep that thing going and so Lincoln Heights was the community.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
How much administrative power or control did you have over your school site and responsibilities?
E. V. DACONS:
I personally had quite a bit of control. Maybe at times more than I wanted. I certainly was not the type who would flaunt it but my suggestions would go. That leadership there was pretty big role because see if you make the wrong decisions it's nice to be in those leadership roles as long as the decisions you make are good and sound but if you make some wrong decisions friend by the same tokens you are still the guy who they are looking to and what have you. So the principalship then had a lot of clout, a lot more than it has today. You have a lot of people who have to make decisions and perhaps that is good in a way because then if it fails you can share that but then on the other hand sometimes I wonder if everybody knows where their lines of demarcation are and who is responsible for this and that and the other. Parents, as I view it, parents then saw and I think perhaps it still goes, you can correct me on this, and I'm probably not right. Parents saw the chief persons and that was the classroom teacher. They saw that individual. They also saw the principal. They saw the superintendent, the one superintendent and when you left those three people, parents as I view them and as I talked with them were not quite clear on what other folks did. In other words, they had not problem with the classroom teacher. They had no problem with that one principal at all, they had no problem with that one superintendent, but when you get in here with this person here and that central office around them and some of them have responsibility, some don't. In other words it depends on what that superintendent says. If the superintendent says, you've got it, that's your period, you have it. Nobody is going to second guess you. Now sometimes the superintendent doesn't say that. But see in the statute books, those three that I named are written in there and the other folks unless they have put it in there recently are not in there. Your librarians, your teacher aides, and your guidance counselors and these people do a tremendous job but many parents don't know what they really do and all. That may have changed. They come in on campus and say look I want to see the principal and there are eight or ten other people that they could see.