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oral histories of the American South
School Busing
Focus on Charlotte, the "Queen City"

This collection of interviews is the result of an effort to use new technologies to draw together diverse interviews with a single geographic focus. Charlotte symbolizes much for North Carolinians: the rise of southern business, progressive political and social life, a moderate approach to racial matters, and African American economic leadership. Drawn from many different sources, these interviews feature discussions with African Americans recalling school desegregation in the 1970s and present-day students discussing its legacies; business leaders reflecting on Charlotte's role in North Carolina's economic growth; and community leaders reflecting on the struggles that have shaped the city. Together, they comprise nearly a century of political, social, and cultural history.

1.
Arthur Griffin, May 7, 1999. Interview K-0168.
Continuing the Progress Begun by Desegregation in Charlotte, North Carolina: Arthur Griffin reminisces about Second Ward High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, and reflects on the legacies of desegregation.
Interviewee: Arthur Griffin    Interviewer: Pamela Grundy
Duration: 01:33:14     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 13 excerpts.
2.
Latrelle McAllister, June 25, 1998. Interview K-0173.
The Value of Integration versus the Value of Community: Values at Odds?: Latrelle McAllister remembers a nurturing, vibrant environment at West Charlotte High School and worries that this ethos may be at risk.
Interviewee: Latrelle McAllister    Interviewer: Pamela Grundy
Duration: 00:56:36     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 12 excerpts.
3.
William Culp, February 19, 1999. Interview K-0277.
A White Teacher at West Charlotte High School: A white teacher recalls a harmonious racial atmosphere at West Charlotte High School during his short stint there in the 1970s.
Interviewee: William Culp    Interviewer: Pamela Grundy
Duration: 00:49:44     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 10 excerpts.
4.
Alma Enloe, May 18, 1998. Interview K-0167.
The Decline of the West Charlotte Ideal: Alma Enloe remembers West Charlotte High School as an extension of the pre-integration African American community in Charlotte.
Interviewee: Alma Enloe    Interviewer: Pamela Grundy
Duration: 01:03:46     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 6 excerpts.
5.
Ned Irons, March 16, 1999. Interview K-0170.
Learning about Racism as a White Minority at West Charlotte High School: A white student reflects on race and racism at West Charlotte High School.
Interviewee: Ned Irons    Interviewer: Pamela Grundy
Duration: 00:47:23     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 7 excerpts.
6.
Leroy Miller, June 8, 1998. Interview K-0174.
A Black Administrator Navigates Desegregation in Charlotte, North Carolina: A black administrator describes the intricacies of administrative changes during desegregation and how he brought his passion for discipline to Charlotte-area schools, including West Charlotte High School.
Interviewee: Leroy Miller    Interviewer: Pamela Grundy
Duration: 02:04:07     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 8 excerpts.
7.
Robert Yost, November 22, 2000. Interview K-0487.
Chess and English at West Charlotte High School: Robert Yost discusses coaching chess and teaching English at West Charlotte High School in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Interviewee: Robert Yost    Interviewer: Pamela Grundy
Duration: 01:34:12     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 5 excerpts.
8.
Jeff Black, March 29, 1999. Interview K-0276.
Individuality Meets Diversity at West Charlotte High School: Jeff Black reflects on the legacies of desegregation at West Charlotte High School, a school hailed as an exemplar of successful desegregation.
Interviewee: Jeff Black    Interviewer: Pamela Grundy
Duration: 00:43:26     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 8 excerpts.
9.
Carrie Abramson, February 21, 1999. Interview K-0275.
Incomplete Integration at West Charlotte High School: A white student's experience with racial division at West Charlotte convinces her of the importance of integrated education.
Interviewee: Carrie Abramson    Interviewer: Pamela Grundy
Duration: 01:02:33     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 8 excerpts.
10.
William Hamlin, May 29, 1998. Interview K-0169.
Cultural Pluralism versus Integration at West Charlotte High School: Former West Charlotte student muses about the school and the uncertain legacies of integration.
Interviewee: William Hamlin    Interviewer: Pamela Grundy
Duration: 01:34:12     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 8 excerpts.
11.
Saundra Davis, May 12, 1998. Interview K-0278.
Support for West Charlotte, Concerns about Integration: Enthusiasm for West Charlotte High School clashes with uncertainty about the efficacy of integration.
Interviewee: Saundra Davis    Interviewer: Pamela Grundy
Duration: 01:13:04     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 6 excerpts.
12.
Harriet Gentry Love, June 17, 1998. Interview K-0171.
Reflections on Community, Family, and West Charlotte High School: Harriet Love shares memories of and fondness for West Charlotte, a truly unique school.
Interviewee: Harriet Gentry Love    Interviewer: Pamela Grundy
Duration: 01:12:05     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 5 excerpts.
13.
John Love, February 17, 1999. Interview K-0172.
Culture, Race, and Belonging at West Charlotte High School: Former student remembers West Charlotte High as a place where diversity created both opportunity and conflict.
Interviewee: John Love    Interviewer: Pamela Grundy
Duration: 01:17:09     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 9 excerpts.
14.
Allen Bailey, [date unknown]. Interview B-0066.
Local Politics in Charlotte, North Carolina: Charlotte, North Carolina, political operative Allen Bailey shares his thoughts on politics and community.
Interviewee: Allen Bailey    Interviewer: Bill Moye
Duration: 01:03:35     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 4 excerpts.
15.
Madge Hopkins, October 17, 2000. Interview K-0481.
Watching the Desegregation Process at West Charlotte High School: Madge Hopkins, a graduate of West Charlotte High School and the vice principal of the school at the time of the interview, describes her experiences with segregation and school desegregation in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Interviewee: Madge Hopkins    Interviewer: Pamela Grundy
Duration: 01:04:14     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 5 excerpts.
16.
Bonnie E. Cone, January 7, 1986. Interview C-0048.
A Southern Woman Helps Establish a College in Charlotte, North Carolina: Bonnie Cone describes her career as an educator in South Carolina and North Carolina during the first half of the twentieth century. After teaching at Duke University during World War II, she moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, and became one of the primary personages behind the successful establishment of a university in that city.
Interviewee: Bonnie E. Cone    Interviewer: Lynn Haessly
Duration: 01:51:40     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 10 excerpts.
17.
George and Tessie Dyer, March 5, 1980. Interview H-0161.
Community Life and Union Organizing Among Charlotte Mill Workers: George and Tessie Dyer discuss their jobs in Charlotte cotton mills and their lives outside of work. They describe their childhood and the work their parents and grandparents did. They recall the parties and social events that their friends participated in after work. The interview ends with their observations about local union activity.
Interviewee: George Dyer, Tessie Dyer    Interviewer: Lu Ann Jones
Duration: 01:58:57     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 18 excerpts.
18.
Tawana Belinda Wilson-Allen, May 11, 2006. Interview U-0098.
Congressional Liaison Shares Her Experiences as a Longtime Community Activist: Tawana Belinda Wilson-Allen recalls her community activist work and her service as a congressional liaison for Congressman Mel Watt. She assesses the tensions between lower-income and wealthier residents in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Interviewee: Tawana Belinda Wilson-Allen    Interviewer: Elizabeth Gritter
Duration: 01:43:06     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 12 excerpts.
19.
Alester G. Furman Jr., January 6, 1976. Interview B-0019.
Southern Businessman Describes His Family's Involvement in the Textile Industry and Higher Education in Greenville, South Carolina: Alester G. Furman Jr. describes his family's involvement in the founding of Furman University in the early 1800s, his father's role in the establishment of the textile industry in Greenville, South Carolina, and the evolution of the textile industry over the course of the early twentieth century.
Interviewee: Alester G. Furman    Interviewer: Brent Glass
Duration: 02:24:13     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 7 excerpts.
20.
Harvey B. Gantt, January 6, 1986. Interview C-0008.
Seizing the Success of the Civil Rights Movement: Architect and politician Harvey Gantt describes his ascent from a childhood in segregated Charleston, South Carolina, to becoming the first black mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina. As a southerner, he sees the accomplishments of the civil rights movement as dramatic; as a member of the black middle class, he leans toward negotiation rather than revolt.
Interviewee: Harvey B. Gantt    Interviewer: Lynn Haessly
Duration: 01:14:43     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 13 excerpts.
21.
Charles M. Lowe, March 20, 1975. Interview B-0069.
Political Patterns and the Consolidation Debate in Charlotte, North Carolina: Longtime Charlotte politician Charles M. Lowe discusses the county-city consolidation issue in Charlotte, North Carolina, and offers his thoughts on the broad, impersonal trends that dominate the political process.
Interviewee: Charles M. Lowe    Interviewer: Bill Moye
Duration: 00:58:58     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 13 excerpts.
22.
Loy Connelly Cloniger, June 18, 1980. Interview H-0158.
The 1919 Charlotte Streetcar Strike: Former mechanic and streetcar foreman Loy Connelly Cloniger recalls the 1919 Charlotte streetcar strike by the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen. Though five strikers were killed, the strikers soon returned to work without the raise they demanded.
Interviewee: Loy Connelly Cloniger    Interviewer: Allen Tullos
Duration: 00:33:18     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 3 excerpts.
23.
Frederick Douglas Alexander, April 1, 1975. Interview B-0065.
City Council Member Assesses Charlotte-Mecklenburg County's Consolidation Efforts: Frederick Douglas Alexander served as a city council member who worked to consolidate Charlotte-Mecklenburg County from 1969 to 1971. He discusses the failures of the consolidation movement.
Interviewee: Frederick Douglas Alexander    Interviewer: Bill Moye
Duration: 00:29:56     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 6 excerpts.
24.
J. Carlton Fleming, [date unknown]. Interview B-0068.
The Failure of Consolidation in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the 1960s: J. Carlton Fleming, who was on a Chamber of Commerce committee pushing for consolidation in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the 1960s, discusses the demise of the issue in this interview.
Interviewee: J. Carlton Fleming    Interviewer: Bill Moye
Duration: 00:40:13     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 5 excerpts.
25.
Jean Cole Hatcher, June 13, 1980. Interview H-0165.
The Cole Manufacturing Company and Industrial Development in Charlotte, North Carolina: Jean Cole Hatcher became president of Cole Manufacturing Company, her family's business, in 1953. Hatcher describes her family's history in the Piedmont, the establishment and evolution of the Cole Manufacturing Company in the industry of agricultural technology, and she illuminates life in Charlotte, North Carolina—both for workers and as an economic center of industry.
Interviewee: Jean Cole Hatcher    Interviewer: Allen Tullos
Duration: 01:22:33     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 6 excerpts.
26.
Stanford Raynold Brookshire, August 18, 1975. Interview B-0067.
Local Politician's Critique of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County's Consolidation: Stanford Raynold Brookshire, Charlotte's first four-term mayor, explains why Charlotte and Mecklenburg County failed to consolidate their city services in the early 1970s.
Interviewee: Stanford Raynold Brookshire    Interviewer: Bill Moye
Duration: 00:37:26     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 7 excerpts.
27.
Venton Bell, January 30, 1991. Interview M-0018.
A Black Principal Considers Desegregation's Legacy in Charlotte, North Carolina: Venton Bell, principal of Harding High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, describes his duties and reflects on race and education.
Interviewee: Venton Bell    Interviewer: Goldie F. Wells
Duration: 00:49:57     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 3 excerpts.
28.
Ralph Waldo Strickland, April 18, 1980. Interview H-0180.
Working on the Rails: Ralph Waldo Strickland Remembers His Time as a Railroad Employee: Ralph Waldo Strickland grew up on an Alabama farm before joining the navy and later making a career with the Seaboard Railroad. He offers a range of recollections concerning his childhood in the rural South, his encounters with the Roosevelts following their relocation in 1921 to Hot Springs, Georgia, and life as a railroad worker and union member.
Interviewee: Ralph Waldo Strickland    Interviewer: Lu Ann Jones
Duration: 02:23:00     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 17 excerpts.
29.
Terry Graham, March 22, 1999. Interview K-0434.
Race and Change in Mooresville, North Carolina: Terry Graham, resident of Mooresville, North Carolina, and taxi service operator, describes his changing town and its relationship to Charlotte. He also discusses the desegregation of the local schools.
Interviewee: Terry Graham    Interviewer: Amanda Covington
Duration: 00:37:51     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 7 excerpts.
30.
Steve Cherry, February 19, 1999. Interview K-0430.
Desegregation On and Off the Basketball Court: Steve Cherry describes desegregation from the perspective of a coach and a principal in Lincoln County, North Carolina.
Interviewee: Steve Cherry    Interviewer: Mark Jones
Duration: 00:58:32     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 11 excerpts.
31.
Leroy Magness, March 27, 1999. Interview K-0438.
Avoiding Conflict during Desegregation: Leroy Magness describes his belief in avoiding conflict, and how that belief shaped his response to the civil rights movement.
Interviewee: Leroy Magness    Interviewer: Michelle Markey
Duration: 01:21:45     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 3 excerpts.
32.
Vennie Moore, February 24, 1999. Interview K-0439.
A Childhood in Segregated Davidson, North Carolina: Vennie Moore recalls her childhood in segregated Davidson, North Carolina.
Interviewee: Vennie Moore    Interviewer: Brian Campbell, Laura Hajar
Duration: 01:18:26     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 3 excerpts.
33.
Edna Y. Hargett, July 19, 1979. Interview H-0163.
Southern Woman Describes Life and Work in Charlotte, North Carolina: Edna Yandell Hargett describes life and work in North Charlotte, a mill village in Charlotte, North Carolina. Focusing primarily on the 1920s through the 1940s, Hargett discusses her work as a weaver in North Charlotte textile mills. In addition, she explains in detail how textile mill workers functioned like "one big family" both at work and in the community.
Interviewee: Edna Y. Hargett    Interviewer: Jim Leloudis
Duration: 02:01:38     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 13 excerpts.
34.
Brenda Tapia, February 2, 2001. Interview K-0476.
Desegregation as Disaster: Brenda Tapia, one of the first African Americans to attend North Mecklenburg High School in Huntersville, North Carolina, describes an alternative view of desegregation.
Interviewee: Brenda Tapia    Interviewer: Jonetta Johnson
Duration: 00:43:14     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 7 excerpts.
35.
Maggie W. Ray, November 9, 2000. Interview K-0825.
The Legacy of Desegregation at West Charlotte High School: Maggie Ray, teacher at West Charlotte High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, reflects on the legacies of desegregation.
Interviewee: Maggie W. Ray    Interviewer: Pamela Grundy
Duration: 01:09:25     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 9 excerpts.
36.
L. Worth Harris, June 11, 1980. Interview H-0164.
Trucking in Charlotte: The Freight Business at Mid-Century: L. Worth Harris discusses the trucking company he started in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the early 1930s.
Interviewee: L. Worth Harris    Interviewer: Allen Tullos
Duration: 00:55:11     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 7 excerpts.
37.
Martha W. Evans, June 26, 1974. Interview A-0318.
State Legislator Describes Charlotte, North Carolina, Politics in the 1960s and 1970s: Martha W. Evans was already an active participant in Charlotte, North Carolina, politics when she was elected as a state legislator in 1962. In this interview, she describes local and state politics as they related to the great physical and economic growth Charlotte experienced from the late 1950s into the 1970s.
Interviewee: Martha W. Evans    Interviewer: Bill Moye
Duration: 01:06:05     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 6 excerpts.
38.
L. M. Wright Jr., April 1, 1974. Interview A-0333-1.
A Newspaperman Discusses the Political Landscape in Charlotte, North Carolina, During the 1960s: A writer and editor for the Charlotte Observer, L. M. Wright offers his insider's perspective on the changing political landscape of Charlotte, North Carolina, from the late 1950s into the early 1970s. Throughout the interview, Wright emphasizes the intersections of race, economics, and urban renewal in the consolidation of local politics.
Interviewee: L. M. Wright    Interviewer: Bill Moye
Duration: 01:26:07     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 4 excerpts.
39.
William I. Ward Jr., March 21, 1975. Interview B-0072.
Charter Commission Representative Discusses Attempt to Consolidate Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina: William I. Ward Jr. served on the Charter Commission that created a proposal to consolidate Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, during the late 1960s and early 1970s. He describes the work of the Commission and opposition to consolidation in the northern part of the community.
Interviewee: William I. Ward    Interviewer: Bill Moye
Duration: 00:51:07     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 4 excerpts.
40.
Ted Fillette, March 2, 2006. Interview U-0185.
Southern Lawyer Recalls How He Came to Advocate for the Rights of Marginalized Groups: This is the first interview in a two-part series with southern lawyer Ted Fillette of the Legal Aid Society of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Fillette describes his childhood in Mobile, Alabama; his involvement in civil rights activism as a student at Duke during the 1960s; his work with the VISTA program in Boston; and his early work as a legal advocate of people displaced by urban renewal in Charlotte, North Carolina, during the 1970s.
Interviewee: Ted Fillette    Interviewer: Sarah Thuesen
Duration: 01:21:04     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 6 excerpts.
41.
Ted Fillette, April 11, 2006. Interview U-0186.
Southern Lawyer Advocates for Tenants and Welfare Rights in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina: This is the second interview in a two-part series with southern lawyer Ted Fillette of the Legal Aid Society of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. In this interview, Fillette focuses on his work as a legal advocate of tenant and welfare rights from the 1970s into the early twenty-first century. Throughout, he discusses the legal and political measures taken to ameliorate housing conditions for low-income tenants and to ensure that low-income people have access to social welfare services.
Interviewee: Ted Fillette    Interviewer: Sarah Thuesen
Duration: 02:03:08     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 7 excerpts.
42.
Diane English, May 19, 2006. Interview U-0183.
Community Activist Describes the Quest of Home Ownership: Diane English recalls her job experiences and quest for homeownership in Charlotte, North Carolina, beginning in the late 1960s. She also discusses her role as an activist for neighborhood safety and her fight to save her neighborhood from gentrification.
Interviewee: Diane English    Interviewer: Sarah Thuesen
Duration: 01:39:37     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 7 excerpts.
43.
Diane English, May 20 2006. Interview U-0184.
Charlotte Neighborhood Activist Discusses Struggles and Successes: Diane English describes her activism in the Belmont neighborhood of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Interviewee: Diane English    Interviewer: Sarah Thuesen
Duration: 00:46:50     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 4 excerpts.