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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Johnny A. Freeman, December 27, 1990. Interview M-0011. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Curbing demonstrations during desegregation

Freeman describes his policy on walk-outs, which he adopted to maintain order during the turbulent desegregation period of the late 1960s. He prevented demonstrations by making it clear that those who walked out would have trouble walking back in.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Johnny A. Freeman, December 27, 1990. Interview M-0011. 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

Then when I went to Cummings I didn't see why just because we had an integrated situation we had to change and we went through some turbulent times as you well know. We went through the riots and all that kind of thing. The year before we closed Jordan Sellis in 1969, and we went in the Fall of 1970, we had that school organized and we had plans for having grievances--everything was outlined in writing for every child and parent when we opened that school and consequently, we never had a demonstration, we never had a walk out; now the junior high school which adjourns the campus had several walk outs. But as I explained to the parents and the students, I've never seen kids walk out of school when it was raining or snowing or on a sunny day. So I told the kids, if you walk out, the procedure for coming back is going to be different. You are just not going to walk out and walk back in. So consequently the kids knew and yet we had grievances if you have a problem this is the procedure that you will follow. You go to guidance, and from guidance to me, and then on up to the Board of Education but demonstrating is not the way to handle a problem unless we can't get a resolution to what the grievance is. So that is how we have been able to do it for twenty years now.