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Oral History Interview with Martin Gerry, August 28, 1991. Interview L-0157. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    After building a resume advocating for desegregation and other racial justice issues, Martin Gerry became director of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in 1975, immediately and aggressively moving to force southern states to integrate and to begin reversing the effects of segregation. He made North Carolina an area of focus in part because he felt that the state had the will and the means to successfully integrate. The results disappointed Gerry, and he recounts one example of such disappointing progress: the debate over locating a veterinary school at a historically black institution. Such a decision would have sent a strong signal that North Carolina was ready to offer its black schools a slice of its educational reputation. But by placing the veterinary school at North Carolina State University, the state suggested that it was ready to fight to maintain the supremacy of traditionally white institutions. This interview offers a glimpse of one individual's struggle with dismantling segregation in the South from the top down.
    Excerpts
  • The problem of duplication and the need to close schools during desegregation
  • Using community colleges to prepare students for integrated contexts
  • The challenge of enforcing desegregation
  • Locating a new veterinary school at NCSU reinforces white educational power
  • Friday's complexity and his response to desegregation pressure
  • North Carolina's unique potential to integrate successfully goes unmet
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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.