Changing post-integration relationships between students and teachers
In this excerpt, Jeter remembers that the teachers at the newly integrated Phillips Junior High School were actually quite good, though she does remember a racist home economics teacher. Although her experience with Phillips's teachers appears to have been pretty positive, she remembers the close ties between teachers at the all-black Northside Elementary School and the black community.
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: How did you feel you were treated by the teachers?
GRJ: The teachers were actually very good. We had an English teacher, Mr. Cooper, that made us read Cyrano de Bergerac in the 7th grade, and he was excellent, and I did not feel that he was racially motivated. Now we had a Home Ec. teacher who was [laughs] who was bad. I mean, and I don't, we felt like she was prejudiced. I remember talking with other people in the class, and she was mean to the black students, and she was not that way to everyone. Now there are some people who are just mean to everyone, and that's fine. I remember at Chapel Hill High School, the librarian, what's her name, she was an old lady and she always wore her hair in a bun, she was mean to me but she was mean to everyone, which is fine, you know as long as it's even. Miss Lee, the Home Ec. teacher, she was mean and she was mean in a racial way.
BG: Can you pinpoint anything, does anything come to mind about how she was?
GRJ: No, I can't remember anything specific, I do remember that we had to make aprons and muffins, but we all felt that she was racist.
BG: How do you compare the teachers and the teaching at Guy B. Phillips with the teachers and the teaching at Northside?
GRJ: Well, we know the teachers and Northside before we went there.
BG: How did you know them?
GRJ: Well, one lady lived across the street from us, so we know here. She was our neighbor. Another lady, Mrs. Hogan, lived near our church, so we knew her. So, and the community was rather small, so we knew lots of people in the community, so consequently we know lots of the teachers, and we know the janitor at Northside, and he subsequently was the janitor, either at Chapel Hill High School or at Guy B. Phillips. And he would sing as he worked, he sang in the choir at St. Josephs. I remember one day, specifically, it was very quiet because it was exam time, and we were in taking a test and he was sweeping the hall and singing a spiritual, and he had a beautiful voice, and so that was rather peaceful, I thought.
BG: did you feel that the teachers were your friends at Northside?
GRJ: Yeah. If you came to school without lunch money, you could borrow money from the teacher at eat lunch. You could catch a ride home with a teacher. And believe you me, if you acted up, you knew the teachers were going to call your parents. Now at Guy B. Phillips, I didn't know any of the teachers until I got to the school, and when I left school, I did not see them outside of school.
BG: Were there any black teachers there?
GRJ: There was one black math teacher, a young man, I think my 9th grade year, but my first year there I don't think there were any black teachers, so there was nobody there, other than one another, to look out for your interests.