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Oral History Interview with Maggie W. Ray, November 9, 2000. Interview K-0825. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Maggie Ray graduated from high school in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1960, as desegregation in schools was beginning. After years in the northeast and traveling abroad, she returned to Charlotte, eventually sending her children to integrated schools and taking a teaching position at West Charlotte. In this interview, she describes the legacies of integration at West Charlotte, which, while not fully realized, manifest themselves in easy friendships between black and white students and comfort in integrated settings. She sees backsliding, too, however, and worries that as Charlotte's African American community struggles, desegregation is not enough to help it. Her solution is the next step in her journey from indifferent southerner to civil rights activist to parent and teacher: she believes that maintaining what she describes as equity, or full equality, is more important than maintaining desegregation. This interview offers a useful look at a relatively successful effort at integration and one observer's responses to its benefits and costs.
    Excerpts
  • Growing awareness of the civil rights struggle
  • Racial prejudice in both North and South
  • Christianity motivated civil rights activism
  • Integration leads to comfortable interracial interaction
  • Joking about race
  • A unique appreciation for diversity at West Charlotte
  • White parents worry about integration
  • Integration leads to comfortable interracial interaction
  • Concern that the gains of integration are being reversed
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  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.