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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with James Moore, October 16, 2003. Interview U-0011. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Tensions between Native Americans and African Americans during desegregation

Moore describes Native American opposition to integration, which was determined but nonviolent. Native Americans simply did not want African Americans entering their schools. They appear to have exerted enough pressure to make the principal of one Native American school, Danford Dial, resign. Moore uses this opportunity to reflect on the effects of school consolidation, which he thinks hurt local schools—students are most comfortable when they attend school close to home, he believes.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with James Moore, October 16, 2003. Interview U-0011. 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

MALINDA MAYNOR:
Talk then, you had started to talk about some of the breakdown that happened around when the county wanted to integrate the schools.
JAMES MOORE:
When the integration came, like I said I took the job of driving the bus for Mr. Danford, and there were some incidents where it could have become violent on the bus. But however, it didn't. I'm not giving myself credit for it. It just worked out that it didn't become violent. However, I think maybe why I decided I didn't want to continue driving the bus was one morning I drove in and unloaded, and there was a group of parents. They were all Indian parents at the school. The parents and Mr. Danford got into a confusion. It almost turned violent it looked like, but it didn't. Mr. Danford resigned. He took this, he used this as an excuse to resign, and he had done such a wonderful job as principal. But anyway, he resigned, and Mr. James Arthur Jones who was assistant principal at that time, he became our principal, and he stayed for years. I don't remember just how many. But anyway, I want to say right here that the progress that has come about at Prospect is due largely to those two men, Mr. Danford and Mr. James Arthur.
MALINDA MAYNOR:
What were those Indian parents so upset about?
JAMES MOORE:
Well, I don't know. It was just, they didn't want the colored in the school. I don't believe I brought a single white student to Prospect. I believe it was, they might have been some that came here, but they didn't come on the bus that I was. But I didn't bring any white students. It was Indian and colored, and I think that was the problem. I'd have to say that the Indians were just upset about integration.
MALINDA MAYNOR:
So they wanted to stop black students from coming to the school.
JAMES MOORE:
They didn't want the black students to come here. There's always been, there was a fear for a long time that the Prospect and Maxton was going to be consolidated. I don't know. I haven't heard it talked recently, but for a long time it was talked that Maxton and Prospect would be consolidated. I'm proud that they haven't because prior to integration Maxton was one of the towns that had its own school, its city schools like Lumberton, Red Springs and so forth. I was sorry to see Prospect, Maxton and Pembroke consolidated together, the high school. I think it took something from each community, especially Prospect.
MALINDA MAYNOR:
Describe what you think it, what do you think it took away?
JAMES MOORE:
Well, what did it take away? I just feel like that anybody performs better at home than they will away from home. As a result there's a list of students that have gone on beyond the college level and become doctors, lawyers and what not from Prospect. Since that time, since consolidation of Prospect, Pembroke and Maxton came about, we've had one to go beyond the college level, and he became a dentist from Prospect. Prior to that there was just, they're listed, but I don't have it right before me right at this time.
MALINDA MAYNOR:
But you think there were more Indians from Prospect who achieved more things.
JAMES MOORE:
During this period of time I do. However, we've had people outside of Prospect that have become famous. Some of them, Dr. Brooks and his brothers and others. But I think it took something about I really just can't say what, but I think it weakened each school when they consolidated.