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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Venton Bell, January 30, 1991. Interview M-0018. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Desegregation's damaging effects

Although desegregation allowed Bell to hold his principalship, he mentions some of its negative effects, including the closing of many black schools and demotions for black principals. He worries, too, that parents are more concerned about whether their children are being treated fairly.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Venton Bell, January 30, 1991. Interview M-0018. 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

GOLDIE F. WELLS:
How did the desegregation of schools affect your role as a principal?
VENTON BELL:
You've got to remember that when I became a principal we had already desegregated the schools. In fact it was done when I was a teacher--so how does it affect my role as a principal? Repeat the question?
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
Do you think desegregation of schools has any bearing on where you are right now?
VENTON BELL:
Obviously. If they hadn't desegregated schools I wouldn't be at Harding High School. I wouldn't have been at Eastwood Junior High School. In the old days we had two different systems, the city Blacks, the city Whites, county Blacks and the county Whites. The consolidation of the school systems in tearing down the old structures in hiarchy had resulted in the closing of a lot of Black facilities and a lot of Black principals and you are probably aware of that more than I. Some of them were delegated to assistant roles when they first did it with the understanding that as schools opened they would be elevated back to principalships. I don't see how it affected me because I was not able to experience what happened back in the old part and what is happening in the new part. I feel that I have parietal with my colleagues. I feel comparable. I make sure that my opinions are expressed and I make sure that my kids get the best that they possibly can. I'm in there begging for my kids like anybody else and I don't really see how it is affecting me in any adverse way--desegregation. One segment of the students it is probably affecting because there are probably things that you would do differently and there was probably more trust among the parents when the schools were of either race. When we integrated that caused parents to be a little more sometimes apprehensive about what was going on in the schools or whether their kid was getting the shaft or if the kid was not being treated fairly. That made them question that even more. I don't think that happened as much when you had schools that were all of one race because everybody was treated the same then.