Oral History

Thurman Couch - On his childhood, family, and school integration

Interviewed by Bob Gilgor on February 12, 2001

This interview with Thurman Couch covers growing up in Chapel Hill during high school in the 1950-60s. He attended Lincoln High School before it was shut down in 1962, and then he attended Chapel Hill High School. Couch reflects on his lifestyle, neighborhood, family, religion, school, football team, and the expectations of African Americans versus white students. He discusses how he was disciplined by both his parents and other adults, and how the community looked out for each other. Couch talks about how he experienced racism at Chapel Hill High School, which differed from his time at Lincoln High School where he felt like it was another home. He talked about influential people in his life including parents, family, teachers, and people in the community. Couch reflected on his football career during high school. He discussed how Lincoln High School was different from Chapel Hill High School regarding football, academics, teachers, coaches, and how African Americans were treated. The interview ended with Couch talking about Black businessmen in America.

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.

Thurman Couch - On his childhood, family, and school integration

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Oral history interview of Couch, Thurman conducted by Gilgor, Bob on February 12, 2001 at Chapel Hill Public Library, Chapel Hill, NC.

Citation: Southern Oral History Program, “Thurman Couch - On his childhood, family, and school integration,” From the Rock Wall, accessed January 28, 2022, https://fromtherockwall.org/oral-histories/thurman-couch-on-his-childhood-family-and-school-integration.

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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