Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Burnis Hackney, February 5, 2001. Interview K-0547. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Black students support entering Chapel Hill High School

In this excerpt, Hackney clarifies his belief that black students at Lincoln High School wanted to merge into Chapel Hill High School because of the promise of better resources, although he adds that his memory is somewhat hazy on this point. He complicates his story somewhat when he says that "we were told" that most students favored the merger.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Burnis Hackney, February 5, 2001. Interview K-0547. 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

BG: You had mentioned that you learned either late in the school term or during the summer that you were going to go to Chapel Hill High and you had some feelings about that that were just expressed to me while we were changing the tapes. BH: Right. My personal preference of course being a senior would have been to remain at Lincoln and given all the experiences that I’ve had at Lincoln I had identified and bonded with Lincoln. I feel that many of the other students felt the same way, but however the net result is that we were told that the majority--at least this is my recollection--that the majority of students preferred to go ahead and go with the merger because of the fact that the resources were not going to be devoted to Lincoln that would be adequate or equal to what were available at Chapel Hill High. As I said, I’m relying on my recollection, which the event was so stressful that I can’t really say with one hundred percent confidence that my recollection of this is accurate. It was very, very stressful. It was a point in my life, in our lives, that would change things for the rest of our lives. You’re talking about not only integration but you’re talking about losing an institution that had been a vitally important integral to the community for so many years. You did that with the hope that you would gain better resources and that the future generations would be better served in terms of education, but you knew that you were losing at that time. So as I said, it was a very stressful situation. My recollection is that we were told the majority of students did opt for the merger. BG: Was there some discussion as to whether the merger would be delayed for a year and that Chapel Hill High School would be populated the first year just by white students? BH: I can’t recall specifically, but there was great consideration given to our concerns as seniors that we would not be allowed to finish our final year at Lincoln. I don’t know if enough weight was given to that to consider delaying the process. That’s very doubtful. I can’t imagine that would have weighed that heavily in the process.