Title: Oral History Interview with Johnny A. Freeman, December 27, 1990. Interview M-0011.
Interviewer: Wells, Goldie F.
Interviewee: Freeman, Johnny A.
Subjects: African American high school principals--North Carolina
Abstract: Johnny A. Freeman became principal of Marie McIver High School in Littleton, North Carolina, in 1964 and stayed there for three years before moving to Burlington, North Carolina, eventually taking a position at Hugh M. Cummings High School, where he stayed for two decades. Freeman dealt with the turbulence of desegregation and its effects in Burlington, and while he maintained discipline during the desegregation process, he encountered some difficulties in its aftermath. He remembers an unequal black school system that relied on fundraisers to provide basic services to its students, but he also recalls a close-knit community that looked to educators as leaders and cheered for successful sports teams and a rousing band. Desegregation equalized facilities to some extent, Freeman recalls, but black educational traditions eroded. This interview reveals some of the complexities of the black community's response to desegregation through the eyes of one educator.