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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Harriet Gentry Love, June 17, 1998. Interview K-0171. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Integration creates positive learning environment

Love quickly departs from the subject of integration in this excerpt, but before she does so she argues that integration was a successful process and implies that she supported it because she wanted her children to have "the best possible education."

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Harriet Gentry Love, June 17, 1998. Interview K-0171. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

PG: When your children went to West Charlotte, it had changed to some extent. They had integrated. HL: Yes, that's true. PG: Was the school, did you feel it was very similar to what the school had been when you were there or that it was different? HL: It was different in that you had a diverse number of students. It was the same in that they were young and their ideals and their desires weren't a whole lot different from what we had. There was not a lot that I knew of. There was not a lot of bickering. My husband and I were active in the PTA. It seemed as though everyone was pulling for the same thing, for the students. It wasn't about me or it wasn't about the other parents. It was about the school and the students. And at that time those years that they were there, I thought they were very good years. There were not a lot of incidences. And I'm sure there were some that I never heard of. But as far as a racial kind of blend, I think it was successful. I really do. And I think it is a very, very good school. We got a black eye as you know a few months back, a year or so ago, because of some things that were going on there. But I think that had the staff, and faculty and school board listened to what the students had to say, I think making a decision would have been so easy for them. I think it became so political and people were pulling and didn't know what they really wanted. That's the feeling that I really had. I can say now that I think that it's over with and you'd like for things like that to stay over with. Students express themselves. If you'd see a student if they were at church or if you knew one that was at the mall, you knew they went to West Charlotte. That was a topic that they talked about. 'We're okay. Let us do how we're doing. We're doing fine.' So that was the time for some upset because we didn't really have a lot of racial problems. This seemed to be more of a political kind of thing that happened here a year or so ago with the principal and some of the teachers. PG: That's interesting how a lot of people were talking. When the school first began to integrate, obviously the children were in the lower grades at that time. What was your feeling about the process of integration? About what--. HL: Well, I wanted my children to have the best possible education. And I also wanted them to be able to look eye to eye with anyone regardless of their color, regardless of their beliefs. I always told my children how very, very special they were and how sharp they were and intelligent they were because it was the truth. Not just to boost them up. So here was an opportunity for them to be in a situation, a learning situation, and it could've been positive or negative depending on how I looked at it and my husband looked at it.