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Oral history interview with Sam Holton, March 28, 2001

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Creator:Holton, Samuel M., 1922-
Creator:Matthews, Jenny Lynn
Creator:Southern Oral History Program
Title:Oral history interview with Sam Holton, March 28, 2001
Date:2001 Mar. 28

Sam Holton discusses the Chapel Hill school board's efforts to desegregate its public schools. In 1968, after serving as PTA president, he was elected to the school board. There he was immediately faced with escalating racial tensions following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. --tensions that were also felt in the newly constructed and integrated Chapel Hill High School. The school failed to incorporate the traditions of the former all-black Lincoln High School, which increased blacks' feelings of marginality. The inclusion of blacks into the Chapel Hill High student culture and the high numbers of disciplinary infractions for black students eventually fueled altercations between whites and blacks, say Holton. He explains how school board members sought ways to accommodate low-income students and blacks, including curricular and extracurricular offerings. A professor of education at the University of North Carolina, Holton also provides a socioeconomic analysis of achievement gaps. He contends that students' low test achievement scores can be directly correlated to the educational level and economic class of their parents. Although a large divide exists between upper-class and low-income Chapel Hill residents, Holton is careful to argue that Chapel Hill is not racist. He insists that the local school board remains committed to the education of all students. He stresses that racial and economic balance in Chapel Hill schools is necessary to prevent middle-class whites from abandoning public schools. Without middle-class white support, Holton implies, a quality education for blacks would not exist.

The Civil Rights Digital Library received support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the aggregation and enhancement of partner metadata.

Types:Transcripts | Sound recordings | Oral histories (document genres) | Text | Sound
Subjects:Holton, Samuel M., 1922- | School integration--North Carolina--Chapel Hill | African Americans--North Carolina--Chapel Hill | Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (N.C.). Board of Education | Race riots--North Carolina--Chapel Hill | Segregation in education--North Carolina--Durham | Chapel Hill High School (Chapel Hill, N.C.) | School board members--North Carolina--Chapel Hill | Chapel Hill (N.C.)--Race relations | United States, North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 35.9132, -79.055845 | United States, North Carolina, Carrboro | United States, North Carolina, Orange County, 36.0613199, -79.1205595 | United States, North Carolina, Durham County, Durham, 35.9940329, -78.898619
Collection:Oral Histories of the American South: The Civil Rights Movement
Institution:Documenting the American South (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Contributors:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Documenting the American South (Project)
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Forms part of Oral histories of the American South collection.

Persistent Link to Item:http://docsouth.unc.edu/sohp/K-0206/menu.html