Title: Oral History Interview with Raymond Dawson, February 4, 1991. Interview L-0133.
Interviewer: Link, William
Interviewee: Dawson, Raymond
Abstract: Raymond Dawson became the Vice President of Academic Affairs for the University of North Carolina during the 1970s. In this interview, he describes the tensions surrounding the desegregation of public institutions of education in North Carolina during the mid-1970s. Dawson begins by discussing the
Adams v. Richardson case, which scrutinized the state of desegregation in public education in ten southern states, including North Carolina. Focusing on the role of the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) in this process, Dawson explains how the current and future role of historically black colleges was an especially volatile subject. During this time, the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) called on historically white colleges and universities to continue moving forward with integration while also ensuring the preservation of historically black colleges and universities. In addition, Dawson explains how debates about whether the new state veterinary school should be established at North Carolina State University or at North Carolina A&T became a central focus in the desegregation process. Dawson concludes the interview with a discussion of the negotiations between UNC President William Friday, Secretary of Education Joseph Califano, and HEW General Counsel Peter Libassi and his aide, David Breneman, which were demonstrative of the University of North Carolina's unique position in federal desegregation orders. Because of North Carolina's comparatively large number of historically black colleges, the state became a testing ground for the federal government to explore ways to integrate public education while preserving historically black colleges.