North Carolina Education
In these texts, Amy describes a realization that she had about her educational experience in North Carolina during the 1970’s.
I grew up in North Carolina, uh, in the seventies. And growing up, I was bussed to a town…a school across town. Um, it used to be that, uh, I would have attended a neighborhood school, um, but because of segregation and the requirements that were made for, um, diversity in the schools, I was being bussed across town to a school that was predominantly, um, African-American. And, uh, the teachers there were also African-American. There were a few teachers who weren’t, um, but I’d say that most of them were.
And, um, I just, I went to school, and in my classes, the interesting thing-well, there are a few interesting things about this, but-in my classes, another friend of mine, who has Deaf parents as well. Her name’s Vanessa. She and I were in the same classes throughout elementary school. And there were also a few other friends who were in the same classes, named Brian and a few other friends. And um, the other people that were in my class — they come from families who, um, were either really poor, or parents were divorced, or they had other stuff going on at home.
And, um, and I never really thought about this until recently when I was back home and I was looking at our, you know every year they have class pictures. And I was looking at them and I really realized, you know that my actual friends from my neighborhood were never in any of my classes. And I, I thought about this, and I thought, “Now why is that?” you know. And then I realized that they were in classes with teachers who were white. And Vanessa and I and these other friends of mine who come from homes that weren’t as stable, um, we all had the African- American teachers.
And, um, that’s when it really hit me that their parents probably had something to do with that. They probably had a little bit of in?uence. They probably went to the principal and said, “I don’t want my kid to be in a classroom with a Black teacher.” And, um, my parents didn’t do that. And … Why they didn’t do that, I don’t really know. However, knowing them, I think it’s because they…it really didn’t matter. That I was getting an education and I was learning something and I was going to school. And who my teacher was, really, it wasn’t really an issue.And I look back on that, and I think about it, and uh, I’m really thankful that I had that opportunity. Um, I think that I had fantastic role models in my teachers and, in who they were. And I was able to learn things that my neighborhood friends really didn’t learn. So it’s just interesting to think about now as an adult.