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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Clyde Smith, March 17, 1999. Interview K-0443. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Subtle resistance to integration

Resistance to integration was subtle, Smith remembers. While the Ku Klux Klan kept its distance, he noticed that black students failed to make the cheerleading squad or the homecoming court, and black parents remained isolated at football games.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Clyde Smith, March 17, 1999. Interview K-0443. 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

REID MCGLAMERY:
When I talked with Dr. Stoudemire, he mentioned that he and Blake formed a coalition of black and white students to march against the KKK at a rally in Lincolnton.
CLYDE SMITH:
Right.
REID MCGLAMERY:
Basically they drove the Klan out by showing them the resistance within the community. Did you know anything about this at the time?
CLYDE SMITH:
Just at a distance. I really didn't. I was kind of new here. I had one kid and our second child was just born, so I was kind of preoccupied. I had heard vaguely about it, and I didn't know how serious it was. It just disappeared. This organization you refer to - in fact, after the football season got underway and things went pretty well. I'll tell you when things got happening was at the end of the football season. Just little things, undercurrent things that we didn't sense. The blacks begun to be left out. Like in the homecoming court, no black girls were selected. Then with cheerleading when things were voted on, and obviously the procedure in place was probably a majority vote. For boys, they earned their position on the athletic teams, but then all of a sudden when it became voting issues… The KKK, I don't think there's an active group in Lincolnton but probably in Lincoln County at the time there was. Even though the attitude has always been quite open to blacks - a lot of the way the KKK operates is from a distance, but I don't think that was a Lincolnton attitude. Whether they came from way out in the county or from another county I don't know.
REID MCGLAMERY:
At the football games, I assume Friday nights were big social events. They seem to have been hyped pretty well in the newspapers. Did blacks and whites come together at these events?
CLYDE SMITH:
I think the blacks came, but they didn't really come in full force. Some came, but it wasn't like the two communities merged together or anything. But they did come, but they were isolated. They would sit in one little corner where they would sit together. Over the years that dispersed.
REID MCGLAMERY:
How long would you estimate that took to disperse?
CLYDE SMITH:
Several years. It took several years until that kind of …