Dorothy Counts Photo.png

1946 - 1970

SECOND QUARTER: WE ARE EQUAL

THE PUSH FOR INTEGRATION AND CLOSING OF BLACK SCHOOLS

delois huntley_02.jpg

A photo of Delois Huntley who integrated Alexander Graham Junior High in Charlotte in 1957.

TRY TO IMAGINE...

A time when there was pride in Black schools and in Black communities. A time when unity was built through Black educational institutions.

A time when White leaders could tear down Black schools by just a vote. A time when Black children could watch their community bulldozed down before their very eyes.

 

A time when justice appeared to prevail for the good.

 

A time when Black children are yelled at...spit on...harrassed...and taunted by White children their age just to get access to an equitable education. 

...Just Imagine

The 1950s

The 1950s

Trade and Tryon Street

The 1950s

The 1950s

Uptown View

The 1950s

The 1950s

Skyline View

The 1960s

The 1960s

Skyline View

The 1970s

The 1970s

Skyline View

A LOOK AT CHARLOTTE 

A HISTORICAL LOOK AT CHARLOTTE

 

In this clip, Carolina Impact/PBS, highlights the historical sites of the Second Ward community which was one of the largest Black communities in Charlotte. Learn about the role of Urban Renewal in Charlotte within the Black community in the 60s and 70s.

 

THINGS TO KNOW...

RESIDENTIAL SEGREGATION

In the 1950s...

According to the 1950 Census, Charlotte was one of the most residentially segregated cities in the US. Residential segregation in the city was by race and class. The census also revealed that the average White person completed 12 years of schooling compared to only six grades completed by Black persons in the city. The high ranking of Charlotte as one of the most racially and economically segregated cities played a large part in the challenge with equitable education with neighborhood schools that would arise decades later.

THE NATIONAL RULING

On May 17, 1954...

BLACK SCHOOLS CLOSE

In the 1960s...

In January 1960, city and county schools in Charlotte combined into one district. While there were still 88 segregated schools at the time (57 all-White and 31 all-Black schools), integration was now more possible because it eliminated the chances of White flight from schools. On April 23, 1969,​ Judge McMillan demanded the Charlotte School Board end segregated schools. He appoints Dr. John Finger to create a plan which later resulted in several Black schools closing down. One of those schools was Second Ward High School. It was closed due to the urban renewal initiative to build new businesses and a highway uptown. 

THURGOOD MARSHALL AND BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION

 

This NBC Learn short documentary highlights the story of Thurgood Marshall and his involvement in the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case.

The Brown v. Board of Education ruling stated that separate schools by race were not equal. This ruling caused states in America to integrate schools. 

THE FIRST WAVE OF INTEGRATION IN CHARLOTTE AND THE DOROTHY COUNTS STORY

 

This video captures the event of Sept. 4, 1957. On this day, four Black students enrolled in all-White schools in Charlotte. These students were Delois Huntley, Gus Roberts, Girvaud Roberts, and Dorothy Counts. The mistreatment of Dorothy Counts made national news at Harding High School. 

CAPTURED MEMORIES

 
 

ALL BLACK CITY & COUNTY SCHOOLS

If you were a Black child in Charlotte during this era (1946 -1970), you would have attended one of the schools below for ALL BLACK CHILDREN

1949 CHARLOTTE CITY SCHOOLS - NEGRO

1949 CHARLOTTE CITY SCHOOLS - WHITE

1949 MECKLENBURG COUNTY SCHOOLS - NEGRO

1949 MECKLENBURG COUNTY SCHOOLS - WHITE

1965 CHAR-MECK SCHOOLS (BLACK SCHOOLS)

In January 1960, the city and county schools in Charlotte combine into one district. While there were still 88 segregated schools at the time (57 all-White and 31 all-Black schools), this merger allowed integration to be more possible at the end of the decade with implementing the busing mandate because it eliminated the chances of White families changing schools.

On April 23, 1969,​ Judge McMillan demands the Charlotte school board end segregated schools. He appoints Dr. John Finger to create a plan which later involves the closing of several Black schools. One of those schools included Second Ward High School, which closed due to the urban renewal initiative to build new businesses and a highway uptown.

THE SECOND WARD COMMUNITY IS DEMOLISHED

In the 1960s, Charlotte begins the Urban Renewal initiative to build businesses and a highway in the uptown area. The Second Ward community and Brooklyn neighborhood are destroyed as well as Second Ward High School.

 

PICTURED ABOVE:

The West Charlotte Women's Basketball Team in 1950.

PICTURED ABOVE:

The Crowning of the Queen for the 1946 Queen City Classic. This was an annual event between Second Ward High School and West Charlotte High School. 

SECOND QUARTER: VIDEO ONE

 

In this clip, Pamela Grundy highlights the spirit behind the Queen City Classic in the Black community in Charlotte.

 

Pamela Grundy is a Charlotte historian and author of the book Color and Character which details the history of West Charlotte High School. Pamela provided four historical workshops to all youth involved in the Education of Blacks in Charlotte project.

 

Check out more articles written by Pamela Grundy on Charlotte's History with the Queen City Nerve.

SCHOOL FASHION

SCHOOL SPIRIT

SPORTS & RIVALS

WEST CHARLOTTE HIGH SCHOOL HISTORY

This short documentary highlights the origin of West Charlotte High School and the challenges and successes experienced throughout the years. The history of the Black community in Charlotte is captured with interviews from students and faculty over the span of decades.

 

IN THE NEWS

August 1, 1946

Negroe Teacher Meeting Called (County Schools)

The article highlights the leadership and gathering of teachers to discuss education plans for Black students in Charlotte's Black schools.

March 5, 1961

They Can Peer Out Window, Watch Their School Grow

The article highlights the new renovations that were made to Second Ward High School and captures the excitement of Black children.

August 1, 1969

School Board Going Ahead With New Integration Plan

The article discusses the new closures of Black schools and plans for integrating schools in Charlotte made by the all-White school board.

 

INTERVIEWS

Frento Burton Interview (Clip One)

From lunch options to the discipline process, retired Salvation Army Youth Coordinator, Frento Burton discusses some of his fondest memories as a student at Second Ward High School in the 1960s.

Dorothy Miller Interview

Graduate of Second Ward High School, Dorothy Miller gives a snapshot of her experience in the late 1970s. She discusses her morning routine, the steps she took to attend college, and how she used transportation to get to school.

Frento Burton Interview (Clip Two)

Kenya McNeil, seventh-grader at Druid Hills Academy, asks Frento Burton about workforce development and college readiness options of Second Ward High School students in the ‘60s.

 

YOUTH CONTRIBUTIONS

Artwork:

 

"Second Ward

Student In

His Best"

Artwork by K’leiya Fulmore, Druid Hills Academy, 7th grade (2020)

POEM: If You Miss Me from the Back of the Bus

Dedicated to the students and influencers of the era (1946 - 1970)

 

If you miss me from the back of the bus

And you can’t find me nowhere

Come on up to the front of the bus

I’ll be riding up there

I’ll be riding up there

I’ll be riding up there

If you miss me from Hudson High
And you can’t find me nowhere
Just come on over to Parish High
I’ll be sitting over there

I’ll be sitting over there

I’ll be sitting over there

If you miss Mr. Anderson

And you can’t find him nowhere

Just come on over to Parish High

He’ll be teaching over there

He’ll be teaching over there

He’ll be teaching over there

Poem by Betty Mae Fikes (1963)

School Bus

K'leiya Fulmore, 12

My experience drawing the picture of the second ward HS student was fun. I liked drawing a pose that I usually don't draw. It was nice learning a little bit about the Second Ward HS. I also liked how free the school looked in the picture I used to draw my image.

Kenya McNeil, 12

Interviewing Mr. Frento Burton was very interesting I should say. He mentioned some things that I did not know about back then like how West Charlotte High School and his school that he went to were in competition. It was also interesting to interview him. I never would have thought that he really didn't get in trouble back then which was kind of awesome because I'm not a trouble kid either in school! So, that was something we had in common also.

Jasmine Hinton, 12

For this project, I was nervous but excited about interviewing my grandmother. I am really happy I did though because I got to learn a lot about her time at Second Ward High School.

Julius Robinson, 11

I learned about the importance of leadership by participating in this project. I realize it is important to be a leader and fight for your rights and not be a follower.

DRUID HILLS MIDDLE SCHOOL

YOUTH CURATORS & ARCHIVISTS (ERA 1946 - 1970)

© 2021 The UNC Charlotte Urban Education Collaborative

All photos for the project have been provided by our community partner, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library | Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room | CMStory