Lack of preparation for integration
Hackney remembers "numerous discussions" anticipating the merger between Lincoln and Chapel Hill High Schools, though he does not think these discussions prepared black students for the transition. As he puts it, "there was nothing that could have been done to warm up that turkey adequately to serve" despite recent achievements in the realm of civil rights that may have prepared society at large for such a change. He does not go in depth into why the transition was doomed to be difficult.
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: I want to go back to the transition from Lincoln to Chapel Hill High. Was there any preparation given to Lincoln High School students about the transition? Were there classes on it? Was there anything done during summer?
BH: There were numerous discussions. From what I recall, there were small discussion groups talking about the transition and about the--. Mrs. Vivian Evans [Edmonds] was a guidance counselor at both Lincoln and Chapel Hill. She was there at that time and I found her to be very helpful as I always have during this period. I found her to be very helpful in terms of discussing different challenges that would be faced during the transition, and many of the other teachers also spoke about it. The whole time and even before the merger became an issue, at various times we would have discussions in terms of the importance of abstract thinking, standardized testing, and what have you. So periodically throughout the education process and even prior to the merging issue its like we were being prepared for the alternative.
BG: So you didn’t go in cold turkey.
BH: I don’t feel--. In a sense, we did go in cold turkey. The bottom line is basically there’s nothing that could have been done to warm that turkey up adequately to serve. I can’t say that we didn’t go in cold turkey because, I mean, it had been done elsewhere. The Civil Rights Act was in 1964 and so here we are two or three years later getting ready to make our move, but it’s a new thing. You can’t warm it up.