Title: Oral History Interview with Coleman Barbour, February 16, 1991. Interview M-0032.
Interviewer: Wells, Goldie F.
Interviewee: Barbour, Coleman
Subjects: African American high school principals--North Carolina
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.