West Charlotte's sports tie it to black community
Abramson recalls that she became aware of West Charlotte's African American history at football games, which the predominantly black alumni attended in large numbers. Those games also demonstrated the ties between West Charlotte and the wider Charlotte community.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Carrie Abramson, February 21, 1999. Interview K-0275. 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
PG: How much of a sense when you were there did you have of West Charlotte’s African-American history, of the history of West Charlotte as a black high school, if any?
CA: I definitely had some, and I’m trying to separate on my mind what I knew because of my father had been, had gone to teach there as part of the integration, so he had told me about it. But I’m trying to separate that, I mean, I think the times that we saw it the most were at homecoming and things like that. Because there was such a swell of support at homecoming from all of the community around, and so many people—and it was much more of an African American event in terms of the proportion of people who were there. And most of the older people who were there, who looked older, who were adults were African American. And so there was a very strong—you noticed it a lot at homecoming, at the homecoming football game, and things like that. That the community was really there, and the community was definitely more African American than it was white. Although it never felt like we were outnumbered, or that in some way we weren’t welcome. I mean it was always a very, it was a very strong heritage for the school, and it didn’t feel like there was any animosity toward the fact that it wasn’t the way it had been, in any sense. But I didn’t get a lot of sense of the history of the school other than probably during those homecoming, during that homecoming sort of time. Although I wasn’t a big football game person, so it’s quite possible that, in fact, that happened on a regular basis at the football games, which had always been a real strength of the high school for a long period of time. I mean, we’d always had such a strong program. So, it’s possible that there was more there than I saw on a regular basis, but I tended to notice it around the homecoming time.
PG: What kinds of connections, if any, did you feel to these people who, from the neighborhood, who came to these games that had been at the school at a different time. Did you see yourself as being connected to them in some way?
CA: By the school , but not, I mean, it was a sense of pride in the school, I think. And, I mean, probably because I only ever saw it in that context. I mean, it was always around the excitement around the game and the excitement around—and everybody shared that, and everybody smiled at teach other, and everybody was excited, and we all cheered together, and we all said the same cheers, and they knew all the same cheers we knew, and it was—so I mean, yeah. I mean, I do think I did feel a sense of connection in the sense that I felt like they were as much a part of that community as I was, even though I was a current student, and I was there, and I knew all the players on the football team. I felt like they were—I was proud of the fact that people still came to the football games. Here I am, an alum, who never goes. But I live in New York. That’s my excuse. But I was proud of the fact that people still came, and still supported the school and the team, and were so involved in what went on there.