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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Loistine Defreece, February 16, 1991. Interview M-0034. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

School desegregation did not greatly affect Defreece's career

School desegregation did not affect Defreece's career a great deal, she believes, although she crossed some boundaries when she became Lumberton's first black female principal. She recalls the pride of her mother, who worked in the cafeteria of the then-segregated Lumberton Senior High School.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Loistine Defreece, February 16, 1991. Interview M-0034. 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

How did the desegregation of schools affect your role as a principal?
Well, I really don't know because I started teaching in 1964. At that time schools were segregated then in the late sixties I worked in an integrated school and after working in New Jersey, I worked there for three years as a teacher and then that is when I came back to Lumberton to teach. I really don't see it as having an effect.
Do you think that you would have been where you are today had schools--do you think desegregation had any bearing on where you are right now.
Well, it would have to in a way because if the schools had not integrated then I certainly would not have been a principal of Lumberton Senior High School. Maybe South Lumberton High School and I think a lot of people were shocked that I was selected as principal of the senior high school, the first black principal in Lumberton of a high school.
Were you the first female of a high school and first black?
I often think about my mother who would have been so proud of me. Now she was living when I was principal of the junior high school. She died my second year that I was principal there, in fact she worked at Lumberton Senior High School in the cafeteria for twenty years and that was before integration. My daughter and I were talking about it the other night. She said, Mama, Grannie would have been so proud of you and I said, well, Kim, at least she was proud of me already because she often told me how proud she was. In fact, when I was growing up, she gave me lots of support. She was just the role model for me. She had very little education but lots of sense. Lots of common sense. I can remember she worked for the superintendent a lot during the summer going down to the beach and doing parties and those kinds of things for him. In fact, she worked for the same superintendent who hired me as a teacher and who hired me to go to the junior high school as principal and who helped me get the job at Lumberton Senior High School. He was on the Board since the schools merged. So she always said when I came to Lumberton and started working, she said, Yes, Dr. Carrin knew that you would work because he knew her.