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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Walter Durham, January 19 and 26, 2001. Interview K-0540. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Proud memories of Lincoln High School football games

Durham describes how Lincoln High School football games were truly community events. Earlier in the interview, Durham mentioned the football team several times, noting that the all black, small school team was of the same caliber as teams from larger schools. In giving this anecdote he sings similar praise for the Lincoln High School band and makes sure to mention that it was a Lincoln tradition to always ensure that the visiting team had a good, home-cooked meal before they headed home. These games were highly attended by members of the community and Durham says that these were very "joyful times."

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Walter Durham, January 19 and 26, 2001. Interview K-0540. 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

BOB GILGOR:
Can you recall the sports events? The football games first, whether there were any traditions that took place before, during, after the games?
WALTER DURHAM:
One thing that I remember: we always fed the visiting team after the game.
BOB GILGOR:
After the game?
WALTER DURHAM:
Yes. They were very well fed before we sent them down the road. Another thing that I remember: when we came off the Trailway-we had a big Trailway bus with a big tiger on the bus-probably was one of a kind. Mister R. D. Smith, do you know him? He drove the bus. And it was a big Trailway, nice bus. And it would carry the football team wherever they went. And when they come off the bus-one tradition that I guess was followed down, I don't know who started it-but your shoes always had to be shining, and you had to have new shoestrings every week.
BOB GILGOR:
Your football shoes?
WALTER DURHAM:
Yes. The captain of the football team always made sure that you were presentable, number one, that you was clean! Then they would run off the bus. They would take a full lap around the field. And then they would meet on the fifty-yard line. We would always sing a song, "Born on the Mountaintop, Tennessee." And it was a way that they would do it , sing it and then hit your pads, then you go down and touch your toes, then come back and hit your pads again, and come up and-everybody would be all in sync, song sounding good. And the other team's over there looking and started having fear in other teams before. It was always a show. Lincoln always took a show everywhere they went. And-I don't know if you're familiar with Hillside band-they always be in the band, always be in the Christmas Parade, and always bring excitement to the Christmas Parade. But the band director at Hillside now was at Lincoln. So what he got going on at Hillside, that's the way Lincoln used to be. Lincoln would always have the tradition of having the best band around. I guess you have to take that back to the director because that's the way he trained them here. And the band director, always had to have to a little show with him, too, so it was always-.
BOB GILGOR:
Now you got a baton in your hand [unclear] so did he lead the band out there? Was he high stepping?
WALTER DURHAM:
Yes. High stepping and doing some of everything. You might see him up in the bleachers, anywhere, dancing and-. He was just a show that people would just look at him. He would put on a half-time show, a before-the-game show. And so when you went to a Lincoln High School football game, you couldn't get into the stadium. It would be just standing room only, white and black. White and black. It just mean a white came out and see them, then did black. We used to leave a football game-it was out in Carrboro at this particular time, the stadium was there-and it would be a line of people a mile long coming back into Chapel Hill that just left the football game. People lived for Friday nights to get to a football game.
BOB GILGOR:
Sounds like it was a big show.
WALTER DURHAM:
You would have had to been there-I'm trying to tell you the best way I can-but you would have had to been there to enjoy the excitement. Like I told you last week, one year we went un-scored-on. We were beating people 108 to 0, 88 to 0. So it was a show, plus you saw the football game, and you just didn't get that out of that head. Cheerleaders, you couldn't get that out of your head, because they had a show. And it was a full-time show the whole time that you were there.
BOB GILGOR:
Sounds very joyful.
WALTER DURHAM:
Very, very. I tell you, kids today that didn't have an opportunity to see one of those shows. You can't tell them what they miss because sometimes you don't miss what you've never seen but-those were joyful times. Joyful times.