Oral History

Clementine Self - On her childhood, civil rights, education, and school integration

Interviewed by Bob Gilgor on February 10, 2001

“I was going for my education, I was really going to make a statement that I’ve integrated this school–or desegregated, it was never integrated–desegregated the school. That was my goal.”

- Clementine Self

Clementine Self is a former student of Lincoln High School in Chapel Hill, NC. She discusses the challenges of transferring to the newly desegregated Chapel Hill High in 1963. Self grew up in a working class family that prioritized education. While Lincoln High School was strict with behavior and dress code violations, had many kind teachers, and offered a place for Self to express herself through marching band and school assemblies, she discusses the more lax attitudes and, at times, prejudiced teachers at Chapel Hill High. Self stresses that the school was desegregated, not integrated. In addition to detailing her high school career, Self expands on the importance of education during her childhood and the low rates of crime and drugs present in Northside during the 1960s.

This interview is part of an oral history project called Southern Communities: Listening for a Change: Mighty Tigers--Oral Histories of Chapel Hill's Lincoln High School. The interviewes were conducted from 2000-2001, by Bob Gilgor, with former teachers, staff, and students from Chapel Hill, N.C.'s Lincoln High School, the historically black secondary school that closed in 1962 when a school desegregation plan was implemented. Interviewees discuss African American life and race relations in Chapel Hill, as well as education, discipline, extracurricular activities, and high school social life before and after integration.

Clementine Self - On her childhood, civil rights, education, and school integration

Clementine Self - On her childhood, civil rights, education, and school integration

Clementine Self - On her childhood, civil rights, education, and school integration

Clementine Self - On her childhood, civil rights, education, and school integration

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Oral history interview of Self, Clementine conducted by Gilgor, Bob on February 10, 2001 at Home of Clementine Self, Chapel Hill, NC. Processed by Adams, Zycoria.

Citation: Southern Oral History Program, “Clementine Self - On her childhood, civil rights, education, and school integration,” From the Rock Wall, accessed January 28, 2022, https://fromtherockwall.org/oral-histories/clementine-self-2.

Rights: Researcher must obtain written permission of interviewee, interviewer, director of the Southern Oral History Program, or director of the Chapel Hill Museum for publication.

View this interview on the Southern Oral History Program website

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