Title: Oral History Interview with Jeff Black, March 29, 1999. Interview K-0276.
Interviewer: Grundy, Pamela
Interviewee: Black, Jeff
Subjects: School integration--North Carolina--Charlotte West Charlotte High School (N.C.) Charlotte (N.C.)--Race relations Irons, Ned Schools--North Carolina--Charlotte
Abstract: African American senior Jeff Black reflects on his experiences at West Charlotte High School. Black felt West Charlotte's ties to his community well before he set foot on the school's campus, and like many of his peers, he eagerly anticipated beginning school there. He was not disappointed: at West Charlotte, Black found an intellectually stimulating, socially energizing, and racially diverse environment that allowed him to commit himself both to reaching his individual goals and strengthening his community. But Black admits that West Charlotte is not immune to the legacies of segregation: students tend to self-segregate in the cafeteria, there are few minorities in advanced classes, and the administration limited marching band routines because, surmises Black, they reflect an aspect of black culture the school does not want to associate itself with. He nonetheless believes that West Charlotte's "contagious" sense of belonging outweighs racism. Black's experiences at West Charlotte have been so positive that he tells the interviewer that "the race relations issue tends to be stressed a little bit too much." He believes that individuals have to choose to mingle with people from different backgrounds.