Oral History

Sheila Florence - On her childhood, education, and school integration

Interviewed 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.

Sheila Florence - On her childhood, education, and school integration

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Oral history interview of Florence, Sheila conducted by Gilgor, Bob on January 20, 2001 at Home of Ted Stone, Chapel Hill, NC.

Citation: Southern Oral History Program, “Sheila Florence - On her childhood, education, and school integration,” From the Rock Wall, accessed August 10, 2022, https://fromtherockwall.org/oral-histories/sheila-florence-on-her-childhood-education-and-school-integration.

Rights: Open for research. The Southern Oral History Program (SOHP) welcomes non-commercial use and access that qualifies as fair use to all unrestricted interview materials in the collection. The researcher must cite and give proper credit to the SOHP. The SOHP requests that the researcher informs the SOHP as to how and where they are using the material.

View this interview on the Southern Oral History Program website

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