Gwendolyn Matthews grew up in Cary, North Carolina, during the 1950s. She was a student at the African American high school Berry O'Kelly until 1962, when she was selected to be one of the first five students, all female, to integrate Cary High School. Matthews was selected, in part, because of her father's active role with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and their effort to integrate Wake County Schools. Whereas she had been actively involved in athletics and various school clubs at Berry O'Kelly, Matthews did not become involved in similar activities at Cary High School, largely because she never felt accepted. She eventually became an English teacher.--From Oral Histories of the American South biography.