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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Fred Battle, January 3, 2001. Interview K-0525. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Teachers at Lincoln High School nurture students

Battle remembers how teachers, coaches, and students managed to compensate for less-than-adequate resources at the all-black Lincoln High School. Teachers at Lincoln made a lasting impression on Battle, who tries to treat his employees with the combination of nurturance and strictness with which Lincoln's teachers treated him. A unified black community was another source of strength, Battle remembers.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Fred Battle, January 3, 2001. Interview K-0525. 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

But it was still, we were still able to utilize the resources that we had to make and progress in those conditions. As I relate to the football program as well as the band, under Clark Egerton (?) they were one - and Mr. Bell - one of the best band in the state. They drew praises every time they performed. The same thing with the football program, and I was fortunate enough to play football at Lincoln for three seasons, and I was captain of the last state championship football team, in 1961. (?) We were fortunate enough to win two state championships during my three-year tenure on the football team. And what it boiled down to, it boiled down to makin’ the best out of the resources that you had. A lot of times we would practice, and would practice late, and the coach would have to pull his car up there and shine his lights so we could see what we were doin’ at night, during the course of the practice. We weren’t fortunate enough to have lighted fields that we could practice under, and also the turf that we would practice on was just about clay. Red clay. And we made use of that, and we took those disadvantages and made them into advantages, where we were able to excel. A lot of my classmates and former football players went on to play college ball. Some went on to coach at the college level. And it inspired the inspiration where we figured that we were motivated, we could do just about whatever we wanted to do, if we worked hard enough at it. I would always look, as I would walk down the corridors of the hall in Lincoln, and I could still hear some of the teachers speakin’ now. Giving guidance, giving direction, giving praise, and all the motivation that we would need to be excelled as students and as students and athletes, and I always use this tool now as a parent, and dealin’ with my kids. Lettin’ them know that if they work hard, and if they pay the price, they can be just about whatever they want to be. And it has been a working tool for me. I use it on the job, I have a number of employees that I supervise, and I try to give them the same type of motivation. What we call it, the old school motivation. And it has been a successful project. What Lincoln means to me, Lincoln is a home away from home. This staff is surrogate parents. They dealt with you, they were firm, but they were fair. And they gave you the type of inspiration which made you want to succeed. There were no low expectations; they made every student feel that if you’re proud of yourself you can succeed. And this is what benefited me the most. The community as a whole at that time, everybody lived in one area. That was the black community. It was strong. The church was strong. The church provided the guidance and direction, and they were supportive of the school. And I can recall when we played football out here at Lyons Park in Carrboro, we would have just as many white spectators as we would black. Because everybody come that want to see Lincoln play, because they know Lincoln exemplified an excellence in sports. And you would look up there, and the stadium would be packed. Every time. And Chapel Hill is a unique place. We had our strength. Strength number one has always been the school. We had the church, we had the community, and then we had the community center. And that has always been a successful project for us.