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Oral History Interview with Sheila Florence, January 20, 2001. Interview K-0544. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Sheila Florence, among the first African Americans to desegregate Chapel Hill High School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, remembers growing up in the segregated South and working to end desegregation. She recalls the poor conditions at all-black schools in Chapel Hill and the harassment she endured when she entered the formerly all-white Chapel Hill High School. Although she was courageous enough to be a part of the desegregation of a school, she asserts that she was not brave enough to face arrest in protests. She did, however, picket with other civil rights marchers. Researchers interested in the details of life in a low-income African American community after World War II should look to the beginning of this interview for additional information.
  • Florence remembers unquestioning obedience to Jim Crow laws
  • Poor materials and conditions at segregated school
  • Northside Elementary's strict principal
  • Joining the desegregation vanguard
  • Harassment of black student desegregating white school
  • Black students drop out after black school closes
  • Protesting segregation in Chapel Hill
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Subjects
  • School integration--North Carolina--Chapel Hill
  • African Americans--North Carolina--Chapel Hill
  • Lincoln High School (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
  • Segregation in education--North Carolina--Chapel Hill
  • Civil rights demonstrations--North Carolina--Chapel Hill
  • Florence, Shelia
  • 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.