Documenting the American South Logo
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Willa V. Robinson, January 14, 2004. Interview U-0014. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Post-integration decline of educational quality

Robinson remembers that no black residents of Maxton opposed integration because they hoped that integration would give black students access to better educational resources. It did not. Today, Robinson notes, public schools are underfunded. She hopes a North Carolina lottery might change that.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Willa V. Robinson, January 14, 2004. Interview U-0014. 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

MM: Were there any blacks that you remember that resisted it, that didn’t want it to happen? WR: No, not really. Not really. Because their hopes was everybody would be on an equal scale as far as education was concerned because we knew that we were on the bottom rung when it came to materials for education, so they felt like if it was integrated my child would get the same quality education as your child would get because we’d have the same tools. But we find out now that the schools are integrated they’re still not giving us the tools we need. MM: Are those tools still kept for schools like Lumberton High School and—? WR: Yeah. MM: —and predominantly white schools? WR: Um-hum. MM: And how does that system work? WR: The public schools just is not getting it. It’s not getting it. I’m not a gambling person of any sort, but I just feel like our legislators are keeping us down to a point because you’ve got the lottery in Virginia. You’ve got it in South Carolina, and they just finally got it in Tennessee. We are surrounded, and the great things that they’re doing in South Carolina with the lottery as far as education is concerned is tremendous. They’re talking about it all the time. And then they’re talking about how poor Robeson County schools are. They don’t have this, and they don’t have that, and they can’t get the money from the government, because they don’t have it to give to us. So why not? There are people who are going to gamble no matter what. Instead of those that live in North Carolina going to South Carolina, or going to Tennessee, or going to Virginia, leave it here, and let it help our children because they really need it. But they don’t see it like that. Who was that? Somebody told me, “Well, we’ll never get a lottery because you know this is the Bible Belt.” I says, “The Bible Belt has got nothing to do with it. It has nothing to do with your religion. There are people that live maybe next door to you that don’t ever pick up a bible or even go to a church, and don’t even care one way or the other, but they will go and play the lottery. So you have to use these tools, whatever ones you can get, to better the situation for your children.”