Oral History

Edwin Caldwell - On civil rights, education, and societal changes in Chapel Hill and Orange County

Interviewed by Bob Gilgor on May 29, 2000

"I was for all kids, not just Black kids. My philosophy was if it's good enough for white kids, it ought to be good enough for Black kids."

- Edwin Caldwell, Jr.

Edwin Caldwell, Jr. talks about his time working at a biomedical lab and eventually becoming in charge of the lab after excelling in his role for a number of years. He also talks about the time that UNC-Chapel Hill did not accept his application for a superintendent position at the hospital because he was Black, leading him to take a job at Research Triangle Park. Mr. Caldwell also discusses his time working for the Democratic Party and their campaigns. He goes on to recall the time he worked on the school board and the conflicts he and the Black community overcame. He discusses a number of issues that he addressed as a school board member, including diversity, new bus routes, and giving Black students the opportunity to visit all-Black colleges.

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.

Edwin Caldwell - On civil rights, education, and societal changes in Chapel Hill and Orange County

Edwin Caldwell - On civil rights, education, and societal changes in Chapel Hill and Orange County

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Oral history interview of Caldwell Jr., Edwin conducted by Gilgor, Bob on May 29, 2000 at Home of Edwin Caldwell, Jr., Chapel Hill, NC.

Citation: Southern Oral History Program, “Edwin Caldwell - On civil rights, education, and societal changes in Chapel Hill and Orange County,” From the Rock Wall, accessed May 21, 2022, https://fromtherockwall.org/oral-histories/edwin-caldwell-may-2000-24.

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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