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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Carrie Abramson, February 21, 1999. Interview K-0275. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Efforts to maintain racial balance at West Charlotte

Abramson recalls that students at West Charlotte were aware of the strategies—or rumors thereof—that school administrators and others used to maintain racial balance at West Charlotte, including ensuring that the homecoming queen's race alternated between white and black from year to year.

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: ( ). Well, your father, when I was talking to him, described some measures that were taken at the school, particularly, I think, student elections, to ensure that there was some kind of balance of black and white representation. CA: Um-hum. PG: I gather, perhaps, in a variety of aspects of the school. How aware were you of those kinds of things? CA: Absolutely aware. People definitely knew. It was just accepted. And I don’t think, I don’t recall there being animosity about it. Like, I don’t recall people feeling angry or, “That’s not fair.” I think it was more that it is fair, because we are fifty-fifty in terms of the population, more or less. And it is fair for everybody to be represented. I don’t think it was perceived as negative. I mean—I think—the one I remember the best, I think it was homecoming queen alternated every year, I think. And I don’t know that that was actually a rule, but I think everybody thought it was a rule. So, I don’t actually know if that was true, but, and then we had Carousel Princess, or Carousel Queen, or something. And those alternated too, I think. One year the Carousel Queen was white, then the homecoming queen would be black, or visa-versa. And I have no idea if that was ever actually true, because I never tested it. But I think that there was always a perception that that was somehow controlled. PG: Were there other aspects of school life that you remember that being—? CA: I remember noticing that. Only in poli—only in like the representa—the councils. The student councils, and things like. Student activities. But those would be the only ones. And, I guess, the elected positions. I don’t know if in other clubs that was true. I never had any perception that it was. A lot of the more social clubs were less integrated. And I don’t actually know if there was, I mean they were somewhat integrated. Like I was in Ambassadors, and there were African-American women in Ambassadors. But I don’t know if there was pressure on the club to do that. I don’t know that there were—I was never involved in really thinking about that. I was involved in a lot of the clubs, but I don’t remember there being pressure in a specific way.