Tensions between black students, white teachers, and white students
Jeter remembers some of the pressures of attending Phillips Junior High School as it integrated. She felt academic pressure to equal or outperform white students, and white students used racial slurs against her. While she does not remember any physical intimidation, she does remember that a lot of fights took place that year.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Gloria Register Jeter, December 23, 2000. Interview K-0549. 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: What was it like being at Guy B. Phillips the first year of integration?
GRJ: If I remember correctly, I was not terribly intimidated, I didn't feel if put down is the right word, but I didn't feel like I had to put on my armor to go there everyday. I wanted to do well, but I was always very serious and studious, so I wanted to do well for myself, and I wanted to do well in light of the fact that when you get into a classroom with people that are white, and because they are white they know more than you do, it makes you feel like you have to work hard and be competitive. So I always felt like I had to work hard and study and be competitive. Frequently, I think, we take things personally that are not meant to be personal. I mean, there were people who were stand-offish, who would not sit next to you, who would sneer at you, but you could walk down the street and find that, especially in Chapel Hill. People would yell out the window, "hey nigger," so that was not particularly disheartening to me. We did have a lot of fights at Guy B. Phillips, but I was not fighting, and I did not feel compelled to fight, but a lot of the boys, I'm sure they were racially motivated fights. That was sort of their way of saying "I am as good as the next person, because if you do something to me then I will beat you up." But for a girl, they didn't expect us to fight, thank goodness.
BG: Was there any, in the hallways, any physical intimidation.
GRJ: No, I don't remember any.
BG: Verbal intimidation?
GRJ: No, not that I remember.