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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Ray Spain, January 26, 1990. Interview M-0029. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Desegregation does not affect role as principal

Spain entered the profession after desegregation, so he does not believe it has affected his role as principal. It does, however, make getting a job more difficult when black and white candidates compete.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Ray Spain, January 26, 1990. Interview M-0029. 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:
Desegregation of schools. How do you think that affected your role of principal of a high school?
RAY SPAIN:
It's kind of difficult to answer that because when schools desegregated I was not a principal and really from what I've read and what I know from personal experience as a high school student during desegregation I really don't know a great deal about what it was like for a principal back then. The only reference points I have is just from my own experience you know working in a school system that is pretty much 75% Black and 25% White and really don't know how to answer your question.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
Earlier in the interview you mentioned that for you to have a job, a Black principal in the only high school in Bertie County, do you think that it would have been as hard for your selection had that school been an all Black school?
RAY SPAIN:
Oh no. No not at all.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
The desegregation process--do you think it has made it harder for Black principal in high schools?
RAY SPAIN:
Yes, I think it has made it a lot more competitive and I can think of some counties which have more than one high school with higher of Black population. They typically will appoint one White and one Black high school principal. But in the county where you only have one high school then again prior to my appointment to Bertie High School, they didn't have any Black high school principal in the county of just the one high school and probably didn't ever conceive of having one so I think that that's made a difference where you have one high school, particularly in an Eastern county. More than likely, and I haven't done a survey, I'm just kind of thinking now about the principals I know in this area, you are going a White high school principal.