James Atwater

James Atwater grew up on Church St. as one of five siblings. Before working for the hospital at the University of North Carolina, his mother was an insurance agent for North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company in Durham, the oldest and largest African American life insurance company in the nation. James Atwater himself journeyed to Durham after graduating from the Orange County Training School to attend North Carolina Central University. While there, he studied English and later went to teach on the continent of Africa and at Howard University before serving in the military for two decades.

James Atwater - On Pottersfield and influential teachers at Lincoln High School

James Atwater - On Pottersfield and influential teachers at Lincoln High School

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. James Atwater's interview includes the following topics: growing up in Chapel Hill; Lincoln High School; President Franklin Roosevelt; Pottersfield neighborhood in Chapel Hill; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; UNC-CH relations with the African American community; welfare policy; juvenile reform schools; Orange County Training School; alcoholism; French teacher, Mrs. Turner; Mr. R.D. Smith, agriculture instructor; New Farmers of America; Lincoln High Principal, Mr. McDougle; discipline at Lincoln High; music teacher, Mr. Pickard; lack of resources at Lincoln High.
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James Atwater - On how the memory of desegregation shapes local schools

James Atwater - On how the memory of desegregation shapes local schools

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.
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