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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Nate Davis, February 6, 2001. Interview K-0538. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Black teachers at segregated schools invest in black students' lives

Davis remembers that teachers at Northside Elementary were invested in the personal lives of their students, and would visit students' homes. The black community was localized enough that teachers could easily visit, making official parent-teacher conferences unnecessary.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Nate Davis, February 6, 2001. Interview K-0538. 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

RG: Any other memories of Northside? ND: Memories of Northside...all of them is fond memories, you know. RG: Did you know the teachers outside of the classroom? ND: You know I think back then, most of the teachers like lived in rooming houses, so a lot of them were not from Chapel Hill. You know, up here on the corner of Church and Davie Street there's a big house where Mr. Rollie Wilson lives now, I think a lot of teachers stayed there. But we knew them, yeah, we saw them. RG: Did they go to church with you? ND: I think some of them probably did, yeah. Some of them were from Chapel Hill, like Miss Peace, and Miss Smith and others. I can't think of who else-- RG: Did they make visits? ND: Miss Manley. Oh yeah, they came to your home. RG: And what did they do in your home? ND: Talk to your parents about, you know, how you're performing in school. They didn't have to wait until the parents called for a parent-teacher conference, stuff like that. One thing I hated about elementary school over at Northside, and I don't remember exactly what year it was, but that's when I reckon the Health Department came in and said we gotta make sure these kids have good medical attention and stuff like that. And they brought this truck over, I think it was the Health Department, and they would come over and they started examining all the kids to see, you know, how their teeth and stuff were doing, and I just felt like they would just come in and just yank them out, you know, you got a rotten tooth, don't try to save it, we're just gonna pull it out. I do remember that. I remember that, you know. I don't know if it was teeth that they thought was gonna grow back, or what. RG: So they didn't do any fillings, they just yanked them out? ND: Not that I remember, I don't remember. RG: Or if they gave anesthetic. ND: Probably didn't, cause you weren't standing there that long, so you know. RG: Were your parents active in the Parent Teachers Association? ND: You didn't need, you really didn't need, well I'm not going to say you didn't need to be, but you had contact with the teachers, because like I said, the teachers came to your home. See, I lived, if you walked out of, you know where the building is now? If you walk out that side door, across, straight across that field? That apartment? That's where I lived. So you know, the teachers didn't have far to come to my house. And if I didn't go to school, I couldn't go outside, because when everybody came outside, matter of fact all my classrooms, two of my classrooms were on that side, like the first grade and third grade. Second grade I moved down to the bottom, the new building they built. So yeah, it's right across the field, you know. And when the teachers left during the day, if they didn't go down McMasters Street they would come down Caldwell Street extension, they'd pass right by my house, the only thing they had to do was stop, walk up the hill a few steps, if I didn't come to school.