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Edward L. Rankin served as private secretary to North Carolina Governors William Umstead (1952-1954) and Luther Hodges (1954-1961). In this interview he describes their political leadership, the Pearsall Plan, and the spectrum of political responses to the
Brown v. Board of Education decision.
Charles Adams was a teacher and coach in Wake County, North Carolina, during the 1960s before becoming the assistant director (and later the director) of the North Carolina High School Athletics Association. In addition, Adams's father was a leader in the effort to desegregate Wake County schools. Consequently, Adams offers an insider's perspective on the process of school desegregation, focusing specifically on Cary, North Carolina, as a pioneer and model for other local schools.
Carl A. Mills Jr., principal of Cary High School during its desegregation, recalls a relatively easy process of integration.
Robert Giles recalls state politicians' efforts to hinder total school integration in North Carolina through the use of moderate token desegregation and effective state policy.
An African American activist fights for integration in Lumberton, North Carolina.
Clyde Smith recalls the tensions that integration introduced to athletics at North Carolina's Lincolnton High School.
William Dallas Herring discusses his rise to membership and tenure on the North Carolina State Board of Education and the struggle to create a community college system.
Mack Pearsall recalls his father's role in the Pearsall Plan, a school desegregation strategy in post-
Brown North Carolina that allowed parents to move their children to non-integrated schools. He expresses faith that economic progress will positively affect the state's race relations.
Former West Charlotte student muses about the school and the uncertain legacies of integration.
Longtime principal Johnny A. Freeman reflects on the mixed legacy of desegregation.
Vennie Moore recalls her childhood in segregated Davidson, North Carolina.
Kenneth Norton remembers being a student at the segregated Ada Jenkins School in Davidson, North Carolina, in the 1930s.
Orval Faubus defends his legacy.
Sam Holton explains his role in the desegregation of Chapel Hill schools during his tenure on the school board from 1968 to 1974.
In 1962, Gwendolyn Matthews was one of five African American students to integrate Cary High School in North Carolina. In this interview, she describes her experiences in the integration process, emphasizing the hostility of white students and teachers. In addition, she speaks more broadly about segregation and integration in Cary and Raleigh.
Residents of Maxton, North Carolina, respond to integration.
A Birmingham lawyer shares his reflections on segregation in Birmingham, Alabama, and racism in the United States.
Journalist and activist Daisy Bates recalls working for civil rights in desegregation-era Arkansas.
One of the first African American students to attend Chapel Hill High School discusses his continuing ambivalence about integration and its effect on the black community.
Elizabeth Brown, a white teacher who taught at John Carroll High School in Birmingham, Alabama, describes desegregation and its legacies in her city.
Harriet Love shares memories of and fondness for West Charlotte, a truly unique school.
Patricia Neal settled in Durham, North Carolina, during the 1950s and became an active member of the community. Having served on the Durham County Board of Education from the late 1960s through the 1980s, Neal describes the process of integration and its impact on Durham schools and on the community.
Sociologist Guy B. Johnson describes his path to sociology and recalls his participation in the Southern Regional Council in the 1940s.
Walter Durham discusses coming of age during the 1950s and 1960s in Orange County, North Carolina. Durham focuses especially on the process of school integration as it occurred in the merging of the all black Lincoln High School and the newly integrated Chapel Hill High School. According to Durham, this was a tense process in which many of the school traditions he fondly remembers from his days at Lincoln were lost in the transition to integrated schools.
Georgia politician Herman Talmadge reflects on race in southern politics and the intrusive process of desegregation.
A principal remembers integration in a largely Native American community.
Joanne Peerman describes the efforts of black students to thoroughly integrate Chapel Hill High School and discusses her relationship with her father, a beloved coach at Lincoln High School and a powerful figure in the black high school community.
Elizabeth Pearsall reflects on the role of her husband, Thomas Pearsall, in the North Carolina school desegregation plan. She also discusses her own efforts at fostering racial cooperation.
Civil rights activist Suzanne Post speaks about what motivated her commitment to social justice. Though she is best known for her work to overcome race-based segregated education in Louisville and to launch Louisville's Metropolitan Housing Coalition, Post insists that her most important work centered on women's rights.
Enthusiasm for West Charlotte High School clashes with uncertainty about the efficacy of integration.
A white student's experience with racial division at West Charlotte convinces her of the importance of integrated education.
Josephine Dobbs Clement talks about her various civic roles, including her activity as a member of the League of Women Voters, the Durham City-County Charter Commission, the Board of Education, and the Board of County Commissioners. She also discusses her efforts on behalf of social justice and her views on race, gender, and environmental issues.
Charlene Regester assesses the costs to blacks of school integration in Chapel Hill.
Howell Heflin, who sat on the Alabama State Supreme Court in the 1970s before a two-decade tenure in the United States Senate, discusses the post-segregation Alabama judiciary.
African American civil rights activist Modjeska Simkins describes her upbringing in a prosperous family during the early twentieth century. She charts her work with the Tuberculosis Association, the NAACP, and the Richland County Citizens' Committee. Throughout the interview, Simkins offers telling anecdotes about racial tensions in South Carolina, the inner workings of civil rights organizations, and relationships between leaders of the movement.
Terry Graham, resident of Mooresville, North Carolina, and taxi service operator, describes his changing town and its relationship to Charlotte. He also discusses the desegregation of the local schools.
Arthur Griffin reminisces about Second Ward High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, and reflects on the legacies of desegregation.
A white teacher recalls a harmonious racial atmosphere at West Charlotte High School during his short stint there in the 1970s.
Rebecca Clark describes the economic impact of Jim Crow: denying African Americans desirable jobs, forcing them into low-paying jobs, and humiliating African American consumers.
Florida governor Reubin Askew describes his approach to politics and comments on the political character of Florida and the American South.
A former student at Lincoln and Chapel Hill High School recalls the frustrations of integration.
William and Josephine Clement were both born and raised in the South. They describe their family backgrounds and education. Josephine focuses on race relations in Atlanta and her father's radical politics, while William describes his participation with the Masons and his work with North Carolina Mutual.
Latrelle McAllister remembers a nurturing, vibrant environment at West Charlotte High School and worries that this ethos may be at risk.
Julian Bond recounts a life of civil rights activism in the American South. He discusses his work with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and his connection with other activists, including Ella Baker, Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, John Lewis, Fannie Lou Hamer, Bob Moses, and Stokely Carmichael.
Thurman Couch describes social, cultural, and economic splintering in African American networks in Chapel Hill following integration.
A black administrator describes the intricacies of administrative changes during desegregation and how he brought his passion for discipline to Charlotte-area schools, including West Charlotte High School.
Harold Fleming recounts how he became involved with the Southern Regional Council (SRC) and the criticism he faced for opposing racism in the 1940s and 1950s. He describes the effect of the Red Scare on limiting the involvement of racial progressives in the organizations like the SRC. Additionally, Fleming compares the leadership styles of those he encountered within the organization.
George LeMaistre remembers Alabama politics from the 1920s to the 1970s, a story troubled by violent racism and the struggle over integration.
Longstanding Alabama governor and former presidential candidate George Wallace discusses Alabama politics and racial issues in the United States.
Bert Nettles discusses the state of politics and the Republican Party in Alabama in the 1970s. He discusses, among other things, desegregation, the need for honesty and ethics reform in the political system, and the effect of Watergate on the Republican Party.
Virginius Dabney traces his involvement with the school desegregation crisis in post-1954 Virginia. Dabney's political and social beliefs about integration appeared in the newspaper he edited, the
Richmond Times-Dispatch. This interview spans the breadth of his career from the 1920s to the 1970s.
Strom Thurmond discusses his childhood and the people who inspired his long political career. As an attorney, judge, and governor, Thurmond advocated for states' rights and witnessed the desegregation of South Carolina. He recounts how he lived out his values in regard to the United States Constitution and race relations.
Civil rights activist and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) mentor Ella Josephine Baker outlines her family history, traces her growing radical tendencies, and explains the catalysts that pushed her into public activism. In this interview she discusses her work not only with SNCC, but also with the Workers' Education Project, the Cooperative League, and the NAACP.