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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Steve Cherry, February 19, 1999. Interview K-0430. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Parents participate in desegregation-related violence

Cherry remembers separating a white and a black father trying to finish a fight their sons had begun that day at school.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Steve Cherry, February 19, 1999. Interview K-0430. 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

MARK JONES:
Now you mentioned as assistant principal you were the disciplinarian and you had to basically stand the line between these groups. Now, did you ever feel physically threatened yourself?
STEVE CHERRY:
I stood between - at a football game, I stood between a man that I knew that was a big Klan - president of the Klan in Lincoln County. I knew that he had a pistol in his boot. I knew that and I stood belly to belly with him and another man directly behind me with a baseball bat in his hands telling me that he was going to kill him and the other guy said ‘let me at him’ and all I'm saying is ‘you don't want to cause trouble here where there is four thousand people here at this football game and you don't want to start anything here’ and I'm standing between 'em.
MARK JONES:
Wow.
STEVE CHERRY:
If that can be called physically threatening, I felt physically threatened. [Laughter]
MARK JONES:
Do you know what started that encounter?
STEVE CHERRY:
Their sons had words that day at school.
MARK JONES:
About? Did…
STEVE CHERRY:
One of each of them were in the groups that I talked about earlier. One of them was in the T&I boys and the other one was one of the militant blacks and they had been mouthing back and forth all week. And everything's going to happen at the crowd at the football game on Friday night. ‘I'll get you at the game,’ you know. Little less supervision there and more free space and every time anything was gonna always happen at the game.