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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Elizabeth Brown, June 17, 2005. Interview U-0019. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Benefit of an integrated environment

Brown believes integration helps prepare her students for the real world. Remembering the treatment of African Americans, she tries to prevent her students from discriminating against Mexicans.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Elizabeth Brown, June 17, 2005. Interview U-0019. 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

KIMBERLY HILL:
Now it's just general questions about your opinions of desegregation.
ELIZABETH BROWN:
Oh well-
KIMBERLY HILL:
We can start with do you think it has significant effect on this school?
ELIZABETH BROWN:
You know, I wish we could ask the students that. It hasn't, I don't think the curriculum has changed as far as that's concerned. I think it would be hard to say that desegregation was a bad thing. It's either a good thing or a neutral thing, situation. I like the idea that the kids can know someone that is different from themselves. I think it prepares them for the reality in the outside world. I think some of these all white schools and maybe even the all black schools are, they're going to be thrown into-. If they're successful and higher jobs or even if they're not in the lower echelon, manual labor jobs, they're going to have to get along with person. I think that is as much part of education as the book learning where they can sympathize and know the kids on a different level and their ideas and their talking, and that's one of the reasons why I like Carroll. Some of them that are in the inner city, they don't have enough of a mix, and some of them, some of our suburban schools I don't think have enough of a mix of students. This is small enough where you can really get to know each other. You're not just a, when you're in these schools of almost 3000, there's no way. They probably know fewer people than they do here at this smaller school on the whole because they might have them in one class, and then they'll never see them again whereas here they're going to see them year after year in their classes. I think sometimes maybe our talk changes. The way we say things perhaps. I'm not sure, but maybe we say things in a way that we're not going to offend whoever's in the class perhaps or let them think that we're-. It's hard for me to think how I, I probably am a little bit more gentle with the integrated class. Where if it's all white, I will sometimes really let them have it in such a way that I am probably less. So if they say anything that seems like it's a little-. Sometimes kids are say bigoted statements and they don't realize the significance of it. Just sort of tinged with it. When I heard this about the Mexican population, I could just feel my back getting straighter and straighter because I could hear echoes from the past for other groups. I think I don't know if they listen to me. They're at least they're respectful enough about it when I told them in a very serious manner. You know why I didn't say anything about how disappointed I was because of the, I go back a long way and I can tell you what I heard in the past. So maybe that made a some kind of a significance to them.