Ambivalence about integration
Hackney cannot surrender his regrets about integration, but confesses that he believes the process was an overall positive one. He seems to try to convince himself of this point during this excerpt, citing the resources and facilities available at Chapel Hill High School. These resources are among the few available to African Americans at the time of the interview, however (2001). Hackney believes that the African American community in Chapel Hill has not received much of a commitment of resources from the town.
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: Are there other things that you recall from Chapel Hill High that you want to share?
BH: No, I regret the loss of the institution but in life there are certain choices that have to be made and there are always losses and repercussions. There is a cause and effect when you do certain things and certain things are going to happen. But the Chapel Hill system in the terms of the resources and in terms of the facilities are still ranked among the elite of educational secondary education so in one sense I feel good and I feel that I did benefit from it. I know going to college, my first year of college, it was like I’ve been there and done this, and so there is a degree of ambivalence, you really regret what you lost but you recognize that it is a good system educationally.
BG: So you feel that that year is a fair interpretation of what you just said that your year at Chapel Hill High prepared you better for college than had you stayed at Lincoln, academically prepared you better?
BH: Right. In terms of certain classes and particularly English class and your writing abilities and what have you, you were better prepared, and I’m being quite honest.
BG: Is there anything else that you would like to share or anything that I haven’t asked you that you’d like to bring up?
BH: I guess I will just have to reiterate in my opinion the problem arose because of an unwillingness to put the resources in the black community, and it’s unfortunate but over thirty years later we still have the same problem here. We’re sitting here in this facility that was just built probably in the last seven years that could have been located in the black community, but it’s way out here on Estes [Drive]. The only infrastructure that I have witnessed that I’m aware of that has been put in the black community and there are only three public institutions to date and that would be Northside, Lincoln, and Hargraves. This is 2001 and any time discussion comes up as far as a new school, a public library, a police station or any type of public facility that’s paid out of tax revenue which all citizens are taxed at the same rate, black and white, no infrastructure, no resources are going into the black community. This is something that you can say is by omission or as by commission but this is something that is happening and in this new millennium we really, really need to stop being hypocritical about what’s going on around here.
BG: Maybe that’s a good place to stop, Burnis, unless you want to add anymore.
BH: I think we will stop. I hate to stop on a negative note, but as I say, this is 2001, and we really do need to move on.