Title: Oral History Interview with Carolyn Rogers, May 22, 2003. Interview K-0656.
Interviewer: Van Scoyoc, Peggy
Interviewee: Rogers, Carolyn
Abstract: Born into a sharecropping family, Carolyn Farrar Rogers's experience with the hard labor and dirty work required for farming shaped her views of rural farm life in a way that was greatly at odds with her husband's own romantic views. Rogers's family moved to various farms until 1959, when her family moved to the city of Cary, North Carolina. Her father borrowed ten dollars to buy the land on which he built his family a house. To Rogers, the move to Cary was an upward move toward modern conveniences, including indoor plumbing. Her father nonetheless insisted that his children maintain a connection to rural ethics by having them work in the fields every summer. Rogers explains the strong role her father played in her life. He shielded her from the harsh realities of segregation. Not until Rogers entered the workforce did she recall experiencing the problems of white racism. Still, her father's protectiveness and his support of black-owned businesses planted seeds of pride that prevented Rogers from viewing herself as inferior to her white educator peers, parents, and students. Rogers taught at East Cary Middle School for twenty-five years and became assistant principal at Davis Drive Middle School the last five years before her retirement. She reflects on the difficulties of student and faculty integration and the problems of busing. As a means of avoiding stereotyping black students as underachieving learners, Rogers argues that other social and economic factors impact students' abilities and test scores as much as race.