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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with John Jessup, January 11, 1991. Interview M-0024. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Need to bond with black students as principal

Due to the lower percentage of black students in his high school, Jessup felt responsible to foster their sense of belonging in an integrated school setting. The loss of his black assistant principal forced Jessup to get to know the black students better.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with John Jessup, January 11, 1991. Interview M-0024. 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

JOHN JESSUP:
Yes. In fact we basically divided the staff from one to four. The last year I evaluated more than they but there were probably other years when I didn't evaluate as many they. One unique feature that I had the first five years that I did not have the last year was that I had a Black assistant principal for five years and I did not have one the last year. I had to work probably harder to compensate for the fact that I did not have the Black assistant who was in contact with the Black students and when I say compensate, I just had to work harder on getting to know the students myself.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
What was the ratio of Blacks in your school?
JOHN JESSUP:
Probably ranged somewhere for thirty-one to thirty-three percent.
GOLDIE F. WELLS:
So the Black principal had been the one that made them feel a part.
JOHN JESSUP:
Yes, and of course I worked to do the same thing but you can't get around it he was out there more than I, had closer ties than I, with many of the kids and as problems arose we can always consult about those problems and work on those areas but with him gone it was necessary for me to win the confidence of enough minority students that either by directly or indirectly they would feel comfortable if they didn't feel comfortable with anybody else coming to me to talk about their problems.