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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Richard Hicks, February 1, 1991. Interview M-0023. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Additional pressure on black principals

An aspiring black principal should, in addition to being well-qualified for the job, be sure to speak properly, Hicks thinks. He believes that even in 1990 a black candidate must bring something unique to the position in order to be considered.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Richard Hicks, February 1, 1991. Interview M-0023. 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

Since there are so few high school principals, if you knew of a black young woman or young man that aspired to be a high school principal, what advice would you give them? Mr. Hicks: Be certified and qualify and make sure that you present yourself that way in all professional situations. What I do here at Hillside is that I have a young man on the staff who has his certification. Any time that I have an assistant principal who is going to be out to conferences for three days or more I hire a substitute and put him in this young man's classroom. I bring him down here with me to perform those tasks so that when he goes for an interview he can say, I have had hands-on kind of things. I just don't try to run this place by myself or with the other assistant principal when that occurred so that is some advice I am giving to them and then the teachers, be it he or she, gets to know what teachers say about him/her when he moves out of that role of the classroom and have to get on these kids who walk the hall or come in the cafeteria. But the best advice is to be certified and qualified and know that you can't rap in the , you can't use English that is colloquial and then expect people to be looking at you as a possible candidate for a principalship. I still think black males have to have a certain uniqueness about them in 1990, in order for a superintendent to place them in an integrated situation.
Do you think that there must be a sponsor "someone of the other culture that affirms your ability"? You know that you can do it and you know that you do it very well but to save a position in an integrated situation, do you think you need a sponsor?
Let me say this. There are so few blacks, male or female in the positions where the selections are made that on the surface one would have to say yes to your question. But I certainly would hope that if I were to go for a job now that it wouldn't take that but just the collective observations of the group. It would be hard not to feel that way since so many other persons making those decisions are of the other culture.