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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Raney Norwood, January 9, 2001. Interview K-0556. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Upward Bound helps black students

Here, Norwood describes the Upward Bound program. This excerpt does not offer too much detail, but does offer a glimpse of a program that helped a number of black students succeed in high school and get into college.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Raney Norwood, January 9, 2001. Interview K-0556. 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: Let’s go back to the summer before the merger of the schools. You had mentioned Upward Bound. Can you tell me more about that? RN: Upward Bound? OK, let me tell you from my point of view what happened. One Saturday morning, my mom and dad they’re getting me up and they got two suitcases packed. They say, “We’re taking you to this program.” I’m thinking, “Wait a minute. They’re sending me out to reformatory school because the attitude and stuff I had.” We get in the car. It’s raining, I mean it’s really raining hard. I’m in the back seat. All the time we’re going to ( ), I’m thinking about jumping out of the car and running away. You know. But every light was green. My father didn’t stop or nothing. I said, “OK, go in there on campus must be where you go and catch the bus to go to the reformatory.” So when we pull in front of ( ), I see the rest of my classmates. At first I don’t see nothing but the guys, ( ). I’m thinking, “All of them are going to the reformatory.” So we get out. No one knows what it’s all about. We check in. All of a sudden, things started looking a little better because here come the girls. You know. ( ) formed to get us in. We go to another building on campus. Mr. William ( ), he was a professor on campus and he was president of Upward Bound. He explained to us that there would be sixty girls and sixty boys, you know, on campus for an eight-to-twelve program. Now, ( ). All we know, we’re going to be in these dormitories with these girls and stuff. So what it turned out to be, though, was to prepare us for college, if there was a subject that we needed to take to get ready for college. They were trying to work in mixing the whites and the blacks together. They were paying us ten dollars a week. All the food and stuff was free. But everything they had on the schedule we had to do, like, getting up at six o’clock in the morning [phone rings; tape stops]. BG: You were saying, getting up at six o’clock in the morning--. RN: Yes. We had to get up at six. We had to clean up our room. We stayed at Morrison dormitory. We had to make the bed and then you go to breakfast. Even if you didn’t want to eat breakfast you had to go anyway. That was no problem because most of the guys, we liked to eat anyway. After that you went to classes. You had classes until eleven-thirty and then you take your lunch break and then you go back to class. And then about two-thirty into the day you had to go to the swimming pool. That was nice; we liked that part. And then, later on in the evening we had a social hour where we mingle. This went on I think about eight weeks. But we went through there and those that didn’t get kicked out, we came prepared to go into the high school and really try to get into college. Because I’m not sure on the number but it was a high number that did and was able to go to college. It was to us a very successful program.