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Oral History Interview with William Hamlin, May 29, 1998. Interview K-0169. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    William Hamlin, who attended West Charlotte High School before integration and who observed the integration process from a distance, offers his thoughts on the effects of integration on West Charlotte and Charlotte itself. Like many former West Charlotte students, Hamlin describes the school's magnetism and its glowing reputation. But he tells a darker story, too, about a violent integration process that he believes will never be completed. Hamlin feels conflicted about integration and its legacy. While he thinks that the process was largely successful, he does not think it can eliminate racism or break down the barriers between African Americans and success in America. Over time, Hamlin confesses, he has come to believe in the wisdom of a degree of cultural separatism, in part because he worries that total integration might spur the erosion of cultural traditions.
  • Civil rights activism brings threats
  • Looking forward to attending West Charlotte
  • Promise of integration goes unrealized
  • Teachers and parents heal wounds of integration
  • Legacy of integration does not extend past school walls
  • Integration's failure to affect mindset, threat of eroding identity
  • Need for cultural and racial diversity at West Charlotte
  • West Charlotte as a historical symbol
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Resources for Educators
  • Race in Charlotte Schools Learning Object
  • Subjects
  • School integration--North Carolina--Charlotte
  • West Charlotte High School (N.C.)
  • Charlotte (N.C.)--Race relations
  • Hamlin, William
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.