Charles Rivers

Charles Rivers - On desegregation in Chapel Hill

This interview is part of a project conducted by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate and undergraduate students in a 2001 oral history course. Topics include Chapel Hill's efforts to end racial segregation in the public schools; the process of creating integrated institutions; and the ways in which the memory of those experiences shapes schools to this day. Interviewees include former teachers, students, and administrators from Lincoln High School, the historically black school that closed when the desegregation plan was implemented, and Chapel Hill High School, which was integrated in 1962.
An oral history of Dr. Charles Rivers. Rivers was the Assistant Superintendent of Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools from 1973-1979. He was born in Martins Ferry, Ohio on April 8, 1932. He was educated at non-segregated schools in Bridgeport, Ohio and played football at West Virginia State College, Cedarville College, and Findley College, Ohio. Rivers taught in the public schools of Dayton, Ohio and he graduated from the University of Miami of Ohio in 1968 with his Masters in Public School Administration. He worked as an assistant principal, principal, and director in Dayton Public Schools, and later, under the guidance of Dr. Charles Glatt, he earned his doctorate from Ohio State University. Dr. Robert Hanes was the Superintendent of Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools, and recruited Dr. Rivers to be the first African-American Assistant Superintendent of Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools. While in Chapel Hill, he was in charge of curriculum and the Wisconsin Reading Design that was aimed at improving the achievement of African Americans.
The interview is a life history interview, with an emphasis on his experiences with desegregation and Chapel Hill. It addresses the racial achievement gap in Chapel Hill, the experiences of growing up in the de facto segregation of Ohio, and his various challenges and achievements as an African-American.
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