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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Burnis Hackney, February 5, 2001. Interview K-0547. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Black educational leaders lose positions during integration

Hackney remembers that iconic figures like Coach Peerman and Principal McDougle lost their positions during integration. The excerpt is somewhat unclear, but Hackney intimates that because people like Peerman and McDougle were so obviously qualified, their experience and abilities had little to do with their demotions. The lesson, according to Hackney, was that as hard as African Americans may work, they still risk failure.

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: When you went to Chapel Hill High, your Coach Peerman was now the assistant head coach and your principal was the assistant principal and the core curriculum teachers were almost all white, was this something that was noticed or discusses among the black students? BH: Of course, even had it not been discussed that’s like an object lesson, you see that this is how it’s going to be. You bring me in but I want to be second fiddle and so that was not a lesson that anybody wanted to learn but it was very obvious that this is the way that things are played out. I think that it may have even been more noticeable with Coach Peerman in that he had been so successful that it didn’t seem to be a question that qualification could possibly have been the criteria. In some of the other cases, maybe who knows? Some of those other teachers may have been from better programs, some of the white teachers maybe their high academic credentials may have been better, not to say that they were more skilled teachers, but I certainly will find it hard to believe that anybody could be a better principal than Mr. McDougle so I guess we could see it there also. So that was a good quick lesson that we did learn in terms of reality that hey, you still have got to work harder at whatever you do. You still might come in second.