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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Brenda Tapia, February 2, 2001. Interview K-0476. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Desegregation shuts down black schools though they are newer than white ones

Tapia points out an irony of integration: the state had for so long denied education to African Americans that when it closed black schools to send its students to white ones, it closed buildings in better physical condition.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Brenda Tapia, February 2, 2001. Interview K-0476. 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

JONETTA JOHNSON:
So your first high school, they were closing it down, and that's why they had to move all of the students out?
REVEREND BRENDA TAPIA:
Umm, it wasn't so much that they needed to close it down, or they were going to close it down. That's how Charlotte Mecklenburg decided to integrate schools, they decided to integrate at that point. And as a process of their integration plan, they closed black schools. And it was really interesting because a lot of the black schools, because of racism, they were newer than the white schools because for a long time we didn't have any schools. Because for a long time, we didn't have any schools, so a lot of the white schools they using were much older, and far more, in much worse physical condition, they would have been the more likely choices to close. But instead they closed our schools and bused us to them, because naturally they wouldn't want to come to us. Just like here in Davidson, Ada Jenkins [the black elementary school] was built long after Davidson Elementary. But when they decided … because the same year they closed the tenth grade at the high school, they also closed the second grade. I thought they had done this all over the county, but I found out a few years ago, that, that only happened here in Mecklenburg County. Their way of beginning integration was to close grades, close those two grades, that didn't happen, you know in Charlotte or Huntersville.