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Oral History Interview with Coleman Barbour, February 16, 1991. Interview M-0032. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Coleman Barbour was the principal of Whiteville High School in Whiteville, North Carolina, at the time of this interview. Here, he describes the demands of his position, his accomplishments, and his management style. He also reflects on the state of the black community and its waning investment in education. While he does not explicitly connect the declining value of education in the black community to desegregation, he describes his attempts to replicate the efforts of the black principal of the segregated high school he himself attended, hoping to motivate his black students. In doing so, he seeks to become a role model for black students who, not seeing blacks in positions of influence, are not motivated to earn their high school degrees. The legacies of racism are not the only challenges Barbour faces as a high school principal—he sees a rapidly changing society that is producing children without focus or maturity; but he hopes that his management style will create an atmosphere that cultivates diligence. Researchers interested in learning about his style and the challenges of his job that are not related to race, history, and desegregation should not limit themselves to the excerpts.
  • Mentoring took place in black high schools before desegregation
  • Declining status of post-integration black principals
  • Racism stifles the potential of black students
  • Returning to segregated education would not help the black community
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  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Subjects
  • African American high school principals--North Carolina
  • 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.