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Title: Oral History Interview with Leroy Campbell, January 4, 1991. Interview M-0007. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#40007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Campbell, Leroy, interviewee
Interview conducted by Wells, Goldie F.
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 88 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-07-09, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Leroy Campbell, January 4, 1991. Interview M-0007. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#40007)
Title of series: Series M. Black High School Principals. Southern Oral History Program Collection (M-0007)
Author: Goldie F. Wells
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Leroy Campbell, January 4, 1991. Interview M-0007. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#40007)
Title of series: Series M. Black High School Principals. Southern Oral History Program Collection (M-0007)
Author: Leroy Campbell
Description: 129 Mb
Description: 15 p.
Note: Interview conducted on January 4, 1991, by Goldie F. Wells; recorded in Statesville, North Carolina
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#40007): Series M. Black High School Principals, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Interview with Leroy Campbell, January 4, 1991.
Interview M-0007. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#40007)
Campbell, Leroy, interviewee


Interview Participants

    LEROY CAMPBELL, interviewee
    GOLDIE F. WELLS, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
This is January 4, 1991, and I am in the home of Mr. Leroy Campbell in Statesville, North Carolina. Mr. Campbell was a high school principal in 1964.
LEROY CAMPBELL:
I'm Leroy Campbell and I am in my own home and I am living where I was living in 1964. I was a high school principal in Iredell County. I am aware that this conversation is being recorded.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
Mr. Campbell, I am doing some research and I'm interviewing principals who were principals in high school in 1964, and principals who were principals in 1989. I want you to tell me how you became a high school principal.
LEROY CAMPBELL:
After completing my undergraduate work, and I went to A & T State University--I always like to say that, I was immediately drafted into service and I spent from 1943, through March 1946, in the service. I came out of the service and went back to school. I was certified to teach but it was near the end of the year and I did not get work. In the meantime I became interested in changing my certification. I was going to be an English teacher but I traveled quite a bit in service and I felt I would be pretty competent as a history teacher. I traveled all over the United States and into Italy, North Africa, three countries in North Africa, through the Panama Canal into New Guinea and the Philippine Islands and back. There were many things I felt that that I wanted to talk about and wanted people to know about. Especially my experiences in Africa and the Far East so I went back to school after history not knowing at that time what the salary was going to be teaching and I came out--I did a year at Atlanta University and I went back to school to become a principal. When I came out of the service my brother was working in a cafe out at Harmony, about 15 miles from here. I think he was making $143 a month. I believe that is what it was and when I came out my salary was going to be $145 a month teaching with a Master's degree. So I did teach that fall after completing my Master's degree and taught in Winston-Salem for four years and there was an increase in salary for teachers that summer of getting my degree and my salary with G 3 I suppose. They gave me credit for my army time because I had completed my work and was certified before I went in but anyway my salary was a great big $198 teaching on the graduate level at Winston-Salem that year. I immediately felt that I needed to go into administration. At that time we had a child who was born, as I used to tell my wife--exactly nine months after I came to Statesville. But I had only a little bit of work to do to become certified as a graduate person. I could not get

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a graduate certificate there until I had experience in the classroom. I had to work three years before I would qualify for a graduate certificate in administration or a graduate certificate even in teaching then. You did not get a graduate certificate even though you had a Master's degree until you had taught two years at that time. That is my background.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
So that was your background. And when you became principal in Iredell County, how did you receive that appointment?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
The school here wasn't built until I had graduated from--there wasn't a high school here. I went to Morningside. I came from Harmony and stayed with a Rickert family in Statesville and I went to high school here. That is when I left home. The appointment here, Dr. Martin Pharr had been principal here since the school was built. He had taught me English in high school and he resigned after ten or eleven years and he was leaving during the summer of my fourth year of teaching at Winston-Salem. It came to my attention that the job was open. I had a co-worker who wanted to be a principal and had more experience than I had. While I was in Winston I wrote to Las Vegas, and to Los Angeles and places like that. I had some leads on teaching positions where they were paying more money. I knew that I couldn't live on what I was doing and in Baltimore, Maryland too, and I told my friend about it and he came over to see about it. He brought with him another friend. We all rode in a car. You couldn't buy a car--you had to walk. I had bought a car and we all rode everywhere together, school, work and grocery store and we often played cards together and did everything together but this is kind of selfish. He came for the work and was interviewed. The friend who rode with him told me, Leroy, why don't you apply for it. We all had gotten our Master's before we began work in Winston. I said I want to teach some more. I don't think I know enough about it. He said well, you've been in the army and that was training. He didn't ever say that he had been over here. He did not say that the people said that if he applied I knew that he would get the job and I was not interested but then I was in summer school that summer and I got my principal's certificate. I drove back and forth to Winston-Salem to A & T and got my principal's certificate. When I got the letter saying that I had gotten my principal's certificate they had not hired the person. I came over without an appointment for an interview. I just drove over. They had employed a new superintendent in Iredell County. They were consolidating several small schools in Iredell County, one teacher schools or two teacher schools and the superintendent was new and he talked with me and he said, are you from here? Well, do you know where these schools are? I said yes, and he said, well you fill out an application while you are here and I did and we got a map down and started looking at it. We got to be friends, I guess like you and I are friends and I went on

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back and I told my wife. You aren't interested in me and my work. She said, I don't want to go to Statesville. She is from Hamlet. A few days later the Board of Education met and I was elected the principal of the school. I had never been in the school and I had never been on a bus and I had nine buses running all over town. That is how I became a principal.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
And because they were pulling in the one and two teacher schools, is that how you got the name Unity School?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
It already had that name but the high school was already bringing students from all those feeder schools anyway so all those schools that I'm talking about the small elementary schools were consolidated into schools that had more than seven teachers so they would have a certified principal but the elementary schools were made into a certified school so they could have a non-teaching principal. High school students were already coming in but there was an elementary school on this site that accommodated the people in this community.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
Tell me about Unity School. Tell me about the composition of the school and the number of people that you had to supervise and then I have some areas that I want you to address but just give me something about the school first.
LEROY CAMPBELL:
When I came here Unity School was about 480 students and a faculty of 18 people. I think 7 of them were elementary teachers, 6 or 7, and others were high school teachers. It was a union school, one principal over all of it and of course we had none of the personnel, guidance counselors, librarian, secretary or assistant principal. So the county--there was a lot of potential here. There was growth, every year there was growth and the school grew from 18 teachers to 36 teachers in 18 years. We averaged about a teacher a year and some years two teachers. And the student body grew to 990 in that length of time. We worked with our staff. When I came here, I was an older person even though I was just beginning, I think I was 27 years old before I worked anywhere because when I got out of school I went into service and then I went back to school so I lost five years after graduation from college before I did anything. I wanted to hurry and get where I was going so I had a Master's before I taught a day and I came back and but it seemed negligent on their part so I just made every kind of effort I could with the help of the staff who were wanting to do things and we added off-campus courses here from A & T, from Livingstone, anybody who would come here and hold classes. People came from Morganton, from Mecklenburg County, Rowan County. We had something going on here so we grew with pride over that period of time because we thought we were way behind and we were.

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GOLDIE F. WELLS:
How did you supervise your personnel and how did you select your teachers?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
In the early fifties, Black faculties were stable. If you got a good teacher, a good teacher wanted to stay. If you were doing something, they would stay. I worked all those years. I only had problems with recommending one person to be discharged from working with me. Several people quit because if you didn't want to run fast, they said well I want slow racing, they quit and went where they could work like that. But I didn't have any problems with anything like that. I selected usually on their academic training. I used that as the primary thing because my feelings were that if a person could take the time to train themselves, he had the commitment and discipline to be a good teacher. My place then was to motivate and supervise and help the person become what he wanted. He had already shown what he wanted to do and he was trained.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
Curriculum and instruction. I want to know how much input that you had in the curriculum and instruction of your school.
LEROY CAMPBELL:
The good thing about segregated schools is that you could assemble a good staff and get a good school atmosphere and get parents working with what you are doing. You could do almost anything because you had no interference. I think we achieved that and I had maintained--Dr. Frank Tolliver had been my high school principal. He was the principal of Asheville and he became State Supervisor of Black schools. He and Sam Duncan. Mr. Tolliver came to me and talked to me. Dr. Duncan came first. I had known Dr. Duncan because I went to Livingstone two or three days, and I had to stay with my uncle over there and I left the same year. So Dr. Duncan came and talked with me. He expanded my vision of where I could go or where the school could go.
I think in one afternoon. He would never come in a hurry. He could spend three hours with you and he would not come and say how are you getting along and he would answer what you asked him. What about your curriculum and where do you want to go? Do you have plans to get there? Will your community support it? He talked with me about that. He suggested ways to me that I could get more staff members that would not have learned until a little while later. He said, you said that you wanted to put in vocational courses because they come unallotted. You have to justify that you can make up some classes in vocation and you have a good staff and I had a vocational agriculture teacher and I got another vocational agriculture teacher. That meant that I had two unallotted teachers. I had one home economics teacher so I added to it and added courses and had her to draw up the grocery sheet and draw up the spices so we had four teachers that we didn't have to get from the state allotment based on attendance.
That was one of the best things that happened and I think

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that Dr. Duncan had led me to expand not to use--we did not have football. I maybe asked him how I could avoid it because our school was growing fast. We were holding students. The graduating class the year I came here was 29 students and five years later it was 89 students so the holding power--the students were there, we had 125 people coming in the freshman class every year so we were able to do a lot of things that were happening. The community was going from a farm community to a public works community so the students did not have to stay out. In that way we were able to expand and hold the students. We added courses in math and we had extra courses other than the four courses you know regular courses in English. We had extra courses in math, we had extra courses in science, and we taught all the sciences every year if we could find a way to do it. I had teachers who would volunteer to teach French I and French II and ask to do it in the same class at the same time. I had a teacher who also would teach advanced composition and the lowest class we had in English in the same class at the same time. I don't know where under the sun these people came from. I had a teacher who taught at night free. Mrs. Harris. She taught advanced math when the class got so small we could not justify with 13 or 14. If you have 13 or 14 somebody else has got to have those other 15 or 20 students and you would have to say, we're not going to have the class for the academic students who needed the advanced math and we had had it the year before. She said, Mr. Campbell, if you will let me, you're up at the school all the time anyway in the evenings and at night, I'll come and teach them. She taught the class at night. Those were the kinds of things that were going on. They were able to interpret to the young people what education means. I think that was the thing. They were no better prepared than other people but they had commitment of interpreting. Mrs. Bradshaw taught college English and the lowest English at the same time in the same class. E.V. Dickens was the science and math, particularly science teacher. E.V. was the most social person you've ever seen in a principal. E.V. could have more students at school after school and at night than the coach could have in the gym. Teaching science--we had science fairs, doing experiments. There was an atmosphere almost of a revival. I don't how they mingled and how they came but it was the most unusal thing that I have ever seen. I never dreamed that could happen. We went through--Dr. Huffer told me that your school is not accredited by the Southern Association. I said, none of the others are. I said you accredit your school. They don't know what you are doing. I'll tell you what you are doing. You'll get a full time librarian in the elementary school and a full time librarian in the high school. He said, they'll just say yes, and they are going to have to pay for it because the State is not going to allot it to you. Also, they won't let your teachers teach over 30 students. They'll have to. They'll be ashamed to not live up to what you are doing and so we did that and we became the only accredited

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school in Iredell County by the Southern Association until these new high schools were built in 1966.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
No White schools?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
No White schools had ever thought about it--about being accredited. The state as soon as I got here then I came in 1951, and in 1957, we were accredited by the Southern Association. But Dr. Duncan did this and then Dr. Tolliver came at the same time and Dr. Duncan became President of Livingstone. Dr. Tolliver had been my high school principal so he was my buddy. He just took up right there and he said, what about you. Why don't you go on and do some more work? Before 1950, or something, having a doctorate didn't help you any in pay in North Carolina. They just didn't pay you anymore for that in public schools because nobody was doing it. I said I want you to know about my salary. He said, I'll get you a scholarship with Southern, I can't remember what the name of it was, in Atlanta, Southern something of schools and I took some work at North Carolina Central. I can't remember the name of the scholarship but the state could get about 26-28 people and I had a couple of summers with that and it threw me in contact with men and women who were wanting to do something so that leadership paid off in trying to get some improvements for the school. I was able to use the other people. We visited all the people's campuses and they showed us the things that they were doing.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
What about discipline, Mr. Campbell?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
I don't know. I was the luckiest man in the world. I had the best luck with discipline. I think I had no problems. I really do. I was the smallest guy on the hall but I didn't have problems. I don't know why we didn't have problems. We had strict rules. We had no smoking for teachers and no smoking for students and there was no way; we were almost like the people in Turkey. If they catch you stealing, you cut off a hand. We didn't have any problems. We had more children who wanted to be taught. The parents supported the school. I must have been here five years before I had a parent come in on me about some decisions. They wanted and the children wanted to learn. I had children to break rules everyday but they were worked out immediately. We had no confrontations and things like that. Our students rode the buses.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
That was the next thing. Tell me about transportation?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
I always say that I am the expert in the world, my buses touched seven counties, Rowan, Davie, Yadkin, Wilkes, Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, maybe it is just six but…

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GOLDIE F. WELLS:
I think Iredell County touches more counties in the State than any other counties. I think it is seven too. It touches so many other counties.
LEROY CAMPBELL:
My buses went to every nitch in there because it was the only Black high school in the county. There was a Black high school in Statesville and one in Mooresville but Iredell County is more than forty miles from north to south. We were lucky with that where we almost had no accidents and several years we would lose only one or two bus drivers for speeding and that was if you got a speeding ticket even off the bus you would still lose your license. We were fortunate enough to get a State citation on transportation. It was a result of the county supervisor of transportation. I didn't know I was ignorant that it wasn't going to work right. It was working right and I thought that was right and he said no, it doesn't work right. He came to me and said you know this needs to be on the record there has only been one new bus assigned to the Black school in the history of this county. He told me that. You are brand new and I'm going to pretend that I am new, every year you'll get your quota of new buses or more as long as I am supervisor and I did. My routes were longer than anyone else. But I had second-hand buses. We had excellent transportation supervisors even the person who succeeded him was an excellent supervisor.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
But you were the on-site supervisor and you said you had nine buses.
LEROY CAMPBELL:
I had nine buses and sometimes I had ten. I did a thing, I don't know how all of this came about. I had organized a school bus driver's club and they built up enough confidence in each other that they could reprimand and tell on each other and tell where they were doing unsafe things. We would take a field trip with the students and one of our regular things we used to go to the McLean Trucking Company. At that time it was one of the top four in the country. They had a safety program that was tops among truckers because the truck driver was monitored every minute from the time he got into the truck until he got out. They had a disk they placed behind the speedometer and you couldn't get it. The mechanics installed and when you got to your destination they took it out and they put it with your invoices and things and if you were speeding they knew it. If you parked and ate, it told how many minutes you ate. The boys got the opportunity and got the feeling that they could be truck drivers or they could be bus drivers in the public life and in this kind of training they had knowledge and a commitment on their training and on being bus drivers. I believe the mechanic told me I employed the first girl driver, Black or White. Her brother tore a clutch out. If a person tore a clutch out, he paid for it. That was a part of your contract. You had to have a contract. There was Doris--I combined two bus trips with one and she had a hundred and six miles a day.

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Fifty-three in the morning and fifty-three in the afternoon driving a bus. She was highly motivated, safe and everything else. She is a college graduate, she has a Master's and she is a school principal and her husband is a school principal and all the things like that now. But that made her get there. When I came, this has nothing to do with criticizing or anything, it has to do with the bad roads. Things were not paved then. Many of the courses were not offered because the buses came in irregularly but I said no, we can make the route and we'll open at 8:40 a.m. It takes no more gas to come that hour than it does later or earlier and then they would all line up at the same time. They did whatever, they were highly motivated children. Bus transportation required a lot of time. I got to know everybody in the county even if it involved baseball and basketball too I would take a child home, you know where Houstonville is, out near where Harmony is about five miles above Harmony near the Yadkin County line and out there we played baseball. I would drive their bus for them in the afternoon. I wanted the exemplary bus driver, girl or boy and I would drive the bus free and never charged them a penny and when I got back my wife or somebody would come and bring my car and I would come on back home.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
What about utilization of funds? Where did you get your money to operate?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
I don't know. The state and county furnished a good amount of funds for the instructional supplies but I don't mean that we had enough but utilization was another kind of thing--planning to do it without wasting was one of the things. We had one project. We had a carnival each year to raise money for instructional supplies and that is all we had. The county had fees for supplemental reader's fee and a paid book fee but other than that we had a school calendar thing once for a project that made very good money. We had the old Golden Gate jubilee sales when part of them came back to Charlotte and we had them to come in and do a program. We had picture money. We did not do some things. We did a yearbook every other year. It was two expensive for the children to own.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
Clubs would raise money to keep things going. You didn't have a band, did you?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
Yes, we had a band. But we didn't have a football team. We had to make that choice. I made that choice with Dr. Duncan. He said what is the best for the children? I said, we don't have fans, we don't have a stadium, we don't have uniforms. We had a very good choir. Mr. Pharr was a musician himself and they always had the reputation of having an outstanding choir. We always had a good choir and we had a good band. We started the band out and we did it in one year. We planned it one year and had it the next and the students went to the band festivals and came

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back with first place things and things like that. We had a good band for about 10 years, in fact it was 1959 until 1969.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
What about the cafeteria?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
We had one supplementary food, you know commodities. It was a bellyache, if you will excuse the expression but it was a very necessary thing.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
Did you have to start the cafeteria or was that already in operation?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
It was already in operation and it had a manager when I came. I had to do the reports.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
I forgot to ask you when we were talking, did you receive second-hand books and your chairs and desks. Were they second-hand too?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
Before I came here, the school was not very old. It was about 10-11 years old when I came here. Many of the desks and things were right good desks. The elementary desks were old desks because the elementary school had been here for fifty years but if I had to add a teacher I got desks. I had a desk furnisher in the county. In the first place, Mr. Helter stayed here three years, and during the time we were getting it accredited they fired Mr. Helter, because he enjoyed our working and the others were fussing and the longer they fussed I got the till. They had money they didn't spend every year so they put it in escrow. So I escrowed it out but Mr. Cradle who was a retired person from Oxford I think, he came here as an interim superintendent and he said to my face. I will get you two classrooms of new desks today. He was supportive of the educational program. They were going through what we are going through now, trying to merge, trying to consolidate. We had as much trouble consolidating the high schools, we had seven White high schools in the county where we have three now, and they had about 100 people in each one or 150 in each high school so Iredell County is not just now getting back we've been back.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
So it was just as much trouble trying to pull those communities together as we are having now trying to pull Iredell and Statesville together.
LEROY CAMPBELL:
More, we had at least two injunctions that prevented us from doing it. So I didn't have any problem because I had a good superintendent.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
That was good. You had a good working relationship because the superintendent saw you were about something.
LEROY CAMPBELL:
He said that to me. I took it as though he meant it.

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GOLDIE F. WELLS:
Buildings and grounds. Did you have to oversee that too?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
Yes, but that was a big program. The campus here laid pretty well. It was a pretty campus and had a lot of big trees in it and we never were bothered with drainage or anything like that and we had plenty of space in the back and we had a gym. We didn't have too much trouble with that. After five or six years--I worked for the county in the summer, sometimes I painted for them in the summer and I found out what was going on everywhere because I had a pass key I went in everywhere, the principal's office and everywhere. I learned that way.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
Did you learn separate but not equal?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
Yes, there were some things like that. But we were pretty backward. They didn't have much either. Half the time that we integrated Troutman High School was the only high school that competed with Unity's high school program and the courses had equipment and things like that. Now when they needed to do something their community was more affluent than ours. They could pull in if they were skillful in getting people to do things for them. I was there--in 1954, we bought a brand new activity bus. We had five schools in the county and we coordinated the five Black elementary schools with the high schools and we raised the money ourselves and bought a brand new bus. I went out and put the first miles on it and drove it back. Five years later, the time we wore out two sets of tires we bought another brand new bus but we did it with the community doing it--the PTA or the activities there. Now the industries backed us up. The band was doing good things then and people would give us money when we participated and things like that.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
What was the relationship of the school to the community?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
It was pretty much of a community school. We had to do a survey when we were doing the Southern Association to find out who you were and who did you serve and what we tried to do for them but twenty-six churches in the community that year that we identified our students attended. We in some way or other would do something in the community. The choir would do public appearances and things like that.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
How much administrative power and control did you have over your school site and your responsibilities?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
It had some challenges at times but being principal serves you well if you are sincere. A person who wanted to maintain and was consistent and was good for the community. I had a parent with a tractor and who ran around

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on the grounds and he was playing with students and I called the cops and they put him in jail because if a child had fallen the tractor would have run over him and the same thing with a student. A student threatened a teacher after school and he could not come on the campus ever.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
So you were a powerful man at that school.
LEROY CAMPBELL:
Well, they supported me--I said what do you want me to do, so he didn't come and the parents didn't even get after him. After the boy stayed out a year, he came back and graduated and never had one more problem with him.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
And the parents accepted your decision?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
Well, most of the time it was the parent's decision because I would say, what would you do? If you had other children and you had to look out for their safety, welfare and education and getting them back home what would you do in circumstances like this. These are things that we can do. How do you feel about this? They felt that they had made the decision. I spanked in high school even people who had been to the army. If you break a rule, you take the punishment. I don't want to spank anybody. I don't want to believe in that but it gives you two ways to do it. Go home and stay or your teacher can spank you. A woman who had to spank a man who had been to the army said I can't spank him--he has been to the army but he said, I came back because I know I want to be in school. I want you to whip me so I can go back to class. I don't want to go home. This is the most ridiculous thing in the world. So those kinds of things almost never happen. Mr. Pharr was a powerful person before me. He left the community in good shape to work with. He visited with the parents a lot. They knew exactly what was going on. He left his good will with me. I had been one of his students at Morningside. He taught English at Morningside and so he wanted me to succeed so I was a lucky man. Nobody has been as lucky as I've been, not at work.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
How did the desegregation of schools affect your role as principal?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
Well, we knew it was going to happen. There was a running battle almost like Romel in North Africa. No community wanted to desegregate. The communities were unable to prepare for desegregation and they didn't. Our community did nothing to prepare for desegregation. The law said there will be no more separate schools but there was no preparation made. Each year they said that you could have an assignment you know and they would just assign the least number they could. That was always traumatic to the staff. There was no preparation for it. Dr. Newsome will be buried tomorrow. He was the only person to be employed and that was after we had Title I to hold county-wide workshops in

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desegregation. So we didn't have preparation for it. Now it affected me because the trend was that almost all schools that were segregated you took from the Black schools and added to the White schools. So we knew that the staffing was going to be changed and the schools couldn't be built for the convenience of the Black population because the population was so scattered as a result and many of them were inferior in construction so most of them looked forward to--like I said I will be very glad when people will do fair things to people and with people. When we looked forward to desegregation we were not ignorant. We knew that we were going to pay a price and we had workshops on the price that we were going to have to pay. We were going to be out of field and we were not going to get the support and we were going to be assigned and have students and parents that were not going to be easy to work with. The parents were going to come in and fuss with the principals and say that they weren't going to have a Black person to teach their children and they did all those kinds of things to the teachers. And then in 1969, when almost everybody had to do it then the entire high school left and was assigned to all the high schools in the county so the school was left then with 13-14 teachers at the elementary school for one year. That is when East Iredell was built. I went from a 36 teacher school to a 14 teacher school at an elementary school.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
How long did you stay at that school?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
One year and then it was closed and a year or so later it was used as a Vocational Center in Wilkes County. Then I became general supervisor of a county school. I worked at that a year. Then I became Title I director for two more years and I did not function well as a supervisor. They didn't want supervisors then. Principals did not want supervisors. They didn't want Black ones or White ones. I was a Black and with principals my relationship had been pretty well because I had been a principal and most principals were men then. I don't think they had women principals then. Yes, Miss Mary Morrison was a principal. But our school had sued the school board to keep the school and then I became tarnished the year before that. Morningside sued also. Morningside was successful in their suit because their suit was heard before President Reagan--before the Republicans got it and mine was heard four days later and the new administration so our school was closed.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
Did you enjoy your job and why?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
I guess I enjoyed it. I didn't ever take any time off. I didn't even take my vacation time in the summer. I wanted to be a teacher. I would have liked to have never been an administrator. I would have liked to have been a teacher all the time but I just couldn't quite make it with the money and I was late starting and I wanted--you know how

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they use supervisors, don't you?
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
Yes I do. I understand.
LEROY CAMPBELL:
I wanted to learn a lot. I went to a six months school when I was going to school in the country and I wanted to go to school all my life but I never did have the opportunity. We farmed. We did big farming--twenty-five or thirty bales of cotton so two months in the fall I didn't go to school much. I wanted to be a school teacher. I think I had reasonable success as a teacher and I never did lose the enthusiasm. When I quit I could have worked another ten years just as easy. I don't put all the fault on the system. I take my share. I think that helped me just to say I believe if I work harder I'll do better. If I work hard the students will recognize it and they will do better. I didn't have many confrontations with staff. I tried to be at the school before anybody got there and I tried to stay until everybody left. I would do that at church. I don't want it to come over to people that I'm cutting the job short and if people believe in you they wouldn't let you fail for anything. You can't fail.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
That's right. Now what do you consider your major problem in the principalship?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
Later on when I was able to get everything that I wanted I think my major problem is that we didn't have the equipment and material and time and staff. We needed secretaries, needed librarians, we needed guidance counselors needed secretaries and things like that. Working the problems out that we help children. It took so much time for children during the day or during the time of teaching that you would take from the process of learning. That hurt more than anything else. I would work at night. I wouldn't do my work at school. I would do my paperwork here at my house or that evening or my wife and my children would help me. Every book, I handled everything with my own hands or my children and they were willing to go up there and help me.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
So it was a family affair? So they loved school too. What was the most rewarding or what do you consider the most rewarding thing about the principalship?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
I enjoyed all of it. I believe that I feel that the number of boys and girls and the quality of the boys and girls advancement in success. In 1964 or 1967, we did many things that other people learned to do after I quit being principal. All of our boys and girls--I've been doing PSAT for thirty years. First time I heard it we did it. If we couldn't do it here, we'd get on a bus and we'd go to Charlotte and we had boys and girls who could go to any school in the United States and students who could go to Harvard or Yale, who qualified for Duke scholarships and

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things like that [unknown] and we'de say they can't do it, but they'de do it anyway. That to me, being a part of the children's success was what I felt that the success of the student was the high point in my life associating myself with education is to see them or continue to help them.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
Do you see many of your students now?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
Oh yes. Constantly, always writing and sometimes I write recommendations for them now and there is always someone coming in.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
Well, when you were principal back in 1964, there were over 200 Black high school principals. When I started to do this research I wrote to Raleigh last year and asked them to send me a list of Black principals. They sent me 41 names and I found out that some of them are not principals of high schools that graduate students. Some of them are principals of alternative schools so there were less than 40 that were in the state in 1989. If you had to give some advice to a Black person who was aspiring to be a principal of a high school, what kind of advice would you give?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
I'm not in a position to give advice now. I've been away from high school principalship for twenty years and it has completely changed. The product is expected to change--the product that you get and the product that you work with and I think I am a stranger to the high school student. Nine years ago I was still an elementary principal but I was away from students for five years for a break and when I went back they were not the same. They were like a new world. I don't have any advice to give anyone.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
Mr. Campbell, is there anything else that you want to say?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
I commend you for undertaking this. It is an extension of me. I did this booklet Negro School Principals in Selected Cities of the Public Schools of North Carolina.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
So this is what you did for your thesis?
LEROY CAMPBELL:
For my six year research. So I just took schools right around here. I took Iredell, Rowan, Davie, Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Forsyth Counties for the six year thing. It is not what I set out to do. I set out to do something else and my school was going to close. I didn't do anything about it and I had done everything except research and I couldn't finish the research because the high school was breaking up. Dr. Moore who looked through the things at North Carolina Central and saw that my name was there and he got in touch with me and asked me to come back and maybe I could finish my work. I was the last person to get my degree

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down there. The six year certificate.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
There might be something here that I can use, Mr. Campbell.
LEROY CAMPBELL:
The statistical part has to do with the dropoff and the block of time that I used. I used a small block of time.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
Yes, you used from 1965-1970. I have in my literature review I have to give some background on what did happen to the principals and what happened to the schools.
LEROY CAMPBELL:
I set out to do something else and decided to do that and these are people that I interviewed--Preston Allison at Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Boyd Bailey was Assistant Superintendent, Robert Brow was the principal at Winston-Salem/Forsyth, W.O.T. Fleming, you may know him.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
I have been trying to get up with this man.
LEROY CAMPBELL:
He is retired and he is a very busy person. He is the head of the Rowan/Iredell County Credit Union. Owen Freeman, Assistant Superintendent of schools in Charlotte. He is a Black guy. George Knox, he is a County Commissioner. C.H. Lindler, he was Assistant Superintendent here, R.J. McLelland who is a Black guy who is a principal of a school. There is Miss Mary Morrison who is a Black person here, Mr. Peterson and Raymond Sarbar, he was Assistant Superintendent in Winston-Salem. I used those persons when I was doing mine and you and I did some of the same kinds of things. I was trying to find a field. It was something I needed to get for me. There was something I needed to know something about what was going on. I didn't do a good job because I was disgusted. That was my low point in my life.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
You were seeing so much of being lost and you were frustrated. I wanted to see if principals like you from 1964, and ones from 1989, still viewed the principalship with the same perceptions of the role and I had thought---
LEROY CAMPBELL:
Personally, if I were to say what I feel--people would say, the fool is crazy. I would never have had the problems that I see people have. But I know that I couldn't have lived in the times--I couldn't have brought that time.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
I'm so pleased that you have shared with me today. This interview has been quite informative and when I finish the research, I'll give you a copy of it but I'm going to give you a transcribed copy of this interview so you can look over it and see if there is anything that you think should be deleted but when I finish I'll give you a copy of my research.
END OF INTERVIEW