Sheila Florence - On her childhood, education, and school integrationInterviewed by Bob Gilgor on January 20, 2001
“Lincoln High. That was the school back then. Everybody couldn’t wait to get to Lincoln High School.”
- Sheila Florence
Sheila Florence, a nurse lab technician, grew up in Chapel Hill during the 1950s and 60s. She reflects on her experiences growing up in the Northside district, attending Northside Elementary School, Lincoln High School, and eventually Chapel Hill High School, where she was one of the first four Black students to desegregate the school. She notes her mother’s and community’s emphasis on education and a few individuals who stood out for aiding in her educational journey. She discusses growing up in a wood stove heated two-bedroom one-bathroom house with her mother, father, brother, sister, and grandmother; her involvement in the Lincoln High School band; going to church; and her struggles throughout the process of integration. The interview also discusses her involvement in civil rights protests in Chapel Hill.
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.
"We’re writing our own history, thank you!"
Ms. Esphur FosterWant to add in? Have a different view? What do you think? Want to upload your own photos or documents?
History is not the past. It’s the sense we make of the past now. Click below to RESPOND—and be part of making history today.Respond