Valerie P. Foushee
Valerie P. Foushee - Speaking about her faith, church, and family
This interview is in association with the Marian Cheek Jackson Center’s Life History Series. Senator Valerie Foushee, born May 7th 1956 is a lifelong member of the First Baptist Church. She began attending First Baptist at the age of two when her grandmother would bring her and her siblings to church as their parents worked. She met her husband and the majority of her loved ones at the church, because it has been a focal point of her life spiritually and socially. Her children are also members of the First Baptist congregation and attend on a regular basis as she did as children. She reflects on this in the time transcribed. Valerie reflects on how being a part of the First Baptist community shaped her as an individual, not just as a spiritual center but as a social and educational community center. She reveals that that is where she was first introduced to parliamentary procedure, which influenced her future career as a North Carolina State Senator. She concludes this portion with the discussion of how her faith sustained both her and her family through troubled and painful periods and how she and her husband and long time friend use prayer in their lives.
Interviewed by Hudson Vaughan and Della Pollock on August 15, 2017
Senator Valerie Foushee discusses growing up in the Pine Knolls and Northside communities with her family. She details her family history, telling about the life stories of her grandparents and parents. Foushee recounts the relationships formed with other families in the Pine Knolls/Northside communities as well as with those in the greater Chapel Hill community. She discusses her experience of attending a newly integrated school as well as her multiple involvements with high school student government, First Baptist Church, and peers from her neighborhood communities. In high school, she participated in sit-ins and later became actively involved with different community centers and programs in Pine Knolls and Northside. She discusses class differences that existed within the Pine Knolls neighborhood, and the experience of growing up knowing she had less than others. She later attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was an active member of the Black Student Movement and became engaged in student protests. She also discusses eminent domain and the reality of neighborhood community members’ loss of property. She shares her perspective on current state of affairs locally and nationally.
Valerie P. Foushee - Speaking about her family, career, and race
This interview is part of a project of biographical interviews, 1979-2012, with men and women in North Carolina who have made significant contributions to business, the arts, education, and politics. Topics discussed in Valerie P. Foushee's interview include : growing up in Chapel Hill, N.C.; attending segregated elementary schools; relationship with her grandmother; the town of Chapel Hill, N.C.’s land purchase and creation of the Tandler affordable housing community; early experiences with racism and the development of interracial friendship in junior high; race relations in the Chapel Hill High School class of 1974; changing socioeconomic demographics of Chapel Hill, N.C.; college application process; first impressions of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and difficulty fitting in on campus; marching on South Building to protest a 1974 lawsuit that threatened the Black Student Movement’s funding; lack of social relationships on campus; withdrawal from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and marriage to Stan Foushee; changing views of the University; jobs immediately after leaving the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; birth of two sons; career in the Chapel Hill Police Department; return to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at age 50; experiences as a parent volunteer in her sons’ classes at Seawell Elementary School; decision to run for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS) Board of Education; pride in the CHCCS Board of Education narrowing the achievement gap; reflections on the debate about a possible merger of CHCCS and Orange County Schools; lack of affordable housing in Chapel Hill, N.C.
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