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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Terry Graham, March 22, 1999. Interview K-0434. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Relatively peaceful desegregation process in Mooresville

Graham remembers the desegregation struggle in Mooresville, specifically the argument over whether to close the white or the black school. Despite this disagreement (it seems that the white community lost the argument), there was never any threat of violence, even when Martin Luther King's assassination angered the black community.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Terry Graham, March 22, 1999. Interview K-0434. 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

Well, I wanted to kind of ask specifically about the time that, that the public schools began to desegregate, which is about 1965, 66, 67 about then … I wondered if you had any memories - what the talk was about it in the black community and what, what concerns where there that you could identify or what seemed to be going with that at that time.
TERRY GRAHAM:
At that time, I don't know, there was a whole lot of talk around then. I guess the biggest concern was that the white didn't want to come to Dunbar they wanted to close Dunbar …
AMANDA COVINGTON:
You're jumping on to one of my questions, asking about what that was like.
TERRY GRAHAM:
Yeah, what that was like. They tried, of course we fought it. Uh, they had all the excuses. They had the excuses that they didn't want their children riding across the railroad to get to Dunbar and all that and so we told them our children had to ride across the railroad to get to their school, so that kind of closed down and then, then they decided they was, was going to make it an elementary school, and so they did that for a while, but now they got it as a training, training school school now. So no problem.
AMANDA COVINGTON:
It didn't really…
TERRY GRAHAM:
Really, nuh, uh-uh. We never had no big deal with segregation. I guess we just liked to be by ourselves and it just kind of went along that way, I mean. We was raised here and we know about what to expect. It wasn't like people coming in here, and not knowing what, what was going on, but it went along [de?] segregation went along pretty smoothly - we had no big trouble.
AMANDA COVINGTON:
Uh-huh, was there ever-was there any kind of fear that there would be - that there might be may be some violence …
TERRY GRAHAM:
Naw …
AMANDA COVINGTON:
Or was that ever a worry?
TERRY GRAHAM:
Biggest fear came when Martin Luther King, when they killed Martin Luther King. That was the biggest fear.
AMANDA COVINGTON:
In '68, I believe.
TERRY GRAHAM:
That hit Mooresville, that was the biggest fear. They thought everything was going to go haywire then- but, it blew off, a week or two, I mean there's no more bother.