Non-Native American teachers do well at Native American school
Most teachers at Prospect School were Native Americans, Jones remembers, but both he and his predecessor hired some white and black teachers. Native American parents seemed to have little trouble accepting these teachers, in strong contrast with their reluctance to accept black students at their schools.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with James Arthur Jones, November 19, 2003. Interview U-0005. 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
MM: Let me see. There was another thing that that reminded me of. What was it? Well, I’ll think of it, but I had another question about that time period where Blacks and whites began to come to the school. What was the racial composition of the teachers at Prospect?
JJ: Okay. I’m trying to think. Was there a Black teacher under Mr. Danford’s administration? I don’t think there was, but shortly after that I got one, two, three, four. I know that during my tenure as principal I hired four Black teachers, and I’m trying to think how many white teachers.
I got Patsy MacArthur, John MacArthur’s son’s wife. She was one that I wanted to hire, and I asked Mr. Allen. He told me, “Mr. Jones,” he says, “you’ll probably have trouble with that, hiring her.” Because at that time the politics in the Oxendine community, the MacArthurs they were whites, and they were in control and everything. He said, “Do you think that Prospect would accept that?” I said, “Mr. Allen, I believe I can handle that,” and I got her, and he said, “Okay, go ahead.”
She came in, and she was s jewel. She was a white teacher, but I got her in here in industrial arts. That’s where she came in, started teaching industrial arts. The kids loved her. She mingled. She’d mingle with them, and she got along so well. Then I hired two, I hired a white girl. She’s still up there now. I can’t even think of her name now. It’s been so long. Let’s see, how many? I’m trying to think how many. I believe it was only three. I only had about three white teachers in all.
MM: So four Black teachers and three white teachers?
JJ: I think that’s right.
MM: And how did the parents respond to those?
JJ: Fine. It made them blend right in. No problem. No problem.
MM: The Black teachers as well?
JJ: Yeah, the Black teachers as well.
MM: That’s interesting. Why would there be so many ruffled feathers about students going there but not teachers, you reckon?
JJ: I don’t know. I don’t know.
MM: Was it Indian only teachers under Mr. Danford?
MM: Was it only Indian teachers under Mr. Danford?
JJ: I don’t believe Mr. Danford had any—. If it was, he didn’t have but one Black, maybe one Black. I’m trying to think if there was a white teacher. There may have been. Yes, there was one white teacher. What’s that girl’s name? Yeah that’s right. Now that I recall back I can see. I believe there was three white teachers I had. Three white teachers, yeah.
JJ: Three white teachers, but they all came in, hard workers. Got along real well.
MM: So the racial tensions didn’t really exist on the teacher level?
JJ: No, on the teacher level out here? No, never.
MM: What about between the students?
JJ: No. No. Sure didn’t.