Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Glennon Threatt, June 16, 2005. Interview U-0023. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Socioeconomic dimensions of desegregation's legacy

The kinds of black students attending predominantly white schools are now very similar in educational and economic background to the white students there, Threatt thinks, as opposed to in the 1960s and 1970s, when poor, inner-city blacks were desegregating white schools. He does not elaborate on the significance of this change, but his comments point to the idea that desegregation is not just about race—it is about the galaxy of issues, including socioeconomic status, that orbit race.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Glennon Threatt, June 16, 2005. Interview U-0023. 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

KIMBERLY HILL:
We could talk some about your experiences while you were attending Indian Springs, but I have really wanted to ask you about your role on the alumni board at Indian Springs. Have you been involved in planning reunions?
GLENNON THREATT:
I've been involved in that, I've been involved in recruitment, we talk about curriculum, we do fundraising of course and for the last year I have been the only black member of the board for the alumni council. It's difficult for a school that costs seventeen thousand dollars for day school, to recruit black students. The black students who can afford to go there can get in usually and are academically qualified to go there. That's the other thing, not only do you have to have the money to go there, but you got to be smart. So if you're a black kid who's smart enough and your parents have enough money to send you there, then they can also send you to fine arts, they can send you to Altamont which is in the city, they can send you to the Alabama High School of Math and Science-which is free, they can send you to the honors program at John Carroll which is about half that price. Or you have options to go out of state to school, so what has happened now is that in the 1960s and 1970s the white institutions were getting poor blacks from inner cities to integrate their schools, but now they are getting black kids that have the same educational background as the white students that go there. The black students that go to Indian Springs now, usually went to private school all the way through elementary school. They were not like me. They're much more like the white students who go to Indian Springs, the only difference is race. Their background is very, very similar. Their parents have the same types of jobs, they earn the same income strata and they live in the same communities. Typical black student at Indian Springs now, their parents are doctors or lawyers, they live in Vestavia or Mountain Brook; it's not like it was. When I went there they were finding black kids from the inner city and bringing them there because-some of the first black students that came to Indian Springs were part of the A Better Chance program. Now they do have some Oprah Winfrey scholars there now, which is a very, very good thing. I think they have three Oprah Winfrey scholars who are at Indian Springs. Oprah Winfrey has a scholarship program that sends inner city kids to boarding schools, and three of the black students that are at Indian Springs are Oprah Winfrey scholars.