"With school desegregation] they tried to make it very clear that they were all students and they were all to be treated as individuals with worth. And some teachers weren't very enthusiastic about this and resigned as a matter of fact, I remember. Most of the teachers, I think, made a real effort."
- Mary Scroggs
Mary Scroggs - On her time serving on the school board and integration
“We don’t have integration, we are desegregated, but aren’t integrated yet. I don’t know if we’ll ever be. We get closer, but it’s a slow process, but I felt very strongly that we needed to do that.”
- Mary Scroggs
Mary Scroggs grew up and attended high school in Nebraska and worked as a chemist for Eastman Kodak research labs for a time before moving to North Carolina with her husband. Scroggs joined the citizen’s committee and later the school board, influenced by her father’s membership on one during her childhood as well as wanting to help things get done, especially with kids in school. Scroggs details the breakdown and specifics of the school board and citizen’s committee before getting into integration, explaining what happened during the meeting at Chapel Hill High School where they “voted to send the first Black children to the elementary schools.” Scroggs discusses specifics of how the district handled integration, as well as what happened to the buildings which formerly housed Northside Elementary School and Lincoln High School. Scroggs discusses conflicting social pressures faced by Black students to both succeed academically but also to not assimilate “too much” to whiteness. Before concluding, Scroggs talks about the 1969 protests as well as things she would go back and change.
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.
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