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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Sheila Florence, January 20, 2001. Interview K-0544. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Black students drop out after black school closes

As more black students enrolled at Chapel Hill High School, white harassment diminished, although Florence thinks that when the all-black Lincoln High School closed, many black students chose to stop attending school altogether because they were so uncomfortable with the idea of attending a desegregated institution.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Sheila Florence, January 20, 2001. Interview K-0544. 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:
You say that the first day you went to the junior high school that you were scared.
SHEILA FLORENCE:
Oh yeah, I was scared to death. I didn't know what to expect.
BOB GILGOR:
Had anyone talked to you of helped you to understand what things would be like and how to handle them?
SHEILA FLORENCE:
My Mama did, I'm trying to think, did anybody else, that was with the integration group, they might have talked about how it was gonna be, but I don't really think so.
BOB GILGOR:
Were you afraid that you would be beat up or spit on?
SHEILA FLORENCE:
Oh yeah, I don't think I ever got spit on, but spit at, but not spit on I don't remember. But it was pretty bad. But it got better when other black people came
BOB GILGOR:
Strength in numbers?
SHEILA FLORENCE:
Oh yeah, that must be what it was.
BOB GILGOR:
Do you think the white students were afraid after you add a certain number of blacks there that there would be fight?
SHEILA FLORENCE:
I think that's what it was. They could pick on us few, give us a hard time, but after the next year, everybody else came and I think a lot of the students didn't, I think they still had Lincoln High School if I'm not mistaken, I don't know when they closed Lincoln, but I think that's when a lot of the blacks stopped going to school cause they didn't want to go to school with white people. That was the way I looked at it. Could be so, couldn't be so.