New South Voices provides access to more than 700 transcripts of interviews, narratives, and conversations documenting life in the Charlotte, North Carolina region in the twentieth century, including the experiences and language of recent immigrants to the area. The interviews were conducted by UNC Charlotte faculty, students and staff as well as several community organizations. These interviews are part of the Oral History Collections in the Department of Special Collections at J. Murrey Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte.
Brooklyn was a thriving African-American neighborhood in Charlotte's Second Ward which was physically demolished by urban renewal from 1960-1977. This project was conducted in the spring of 2004 and 2007 by graduate students in the Oral History and Memory classes at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte under the supervision of Dr. Karen Flint.
Mr. Ross describes his experience growing up in the Grier Heights area of Charlotte including his attending Second Ward, entering the Air Force and his attendance at University of North Carolina Charlotte for Graduate School. He describes the efforts of himself and others toward a better life for African Americans, particularly in the employment sector with the formation of the Charlotte Bureau Employment Training Placement.
In this interview with Robert Rieke, Bertha Maxwell talks about UNC Charlotte and the issues of racial dualism and pluralism in the way the university functions. As a faculty member, Ms. Maxwell talks about the slow changes that have occurred at the University, specifically in reference to racial relations between blacks and whites. Ms. Maxwell, who teaches in the department of Black Studies, discusses how UNC Charlotte has changed from being a very segregated institution to being a more integrated institution after the civil rights act was passed.
A native Charlottean, Daisy Spears Stroud discusses her life in the city. She relates early encounters and her feelings as a young girl about race relations, both interracial and intra-racial. Spears discusses predominantly African American neighborhoods in Charlotte, including her own First Ward. As a life-long teacher, Stroud took part in the initial desegregation of Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools.
Interview with C. Vanessa Baxter
Ms. Baxter describes her experiences as a student in Charlotte Mecklenburg schools during the late 1950s and 1960s, focusing in particular on the impact of integration. Ms. Baxter recalls the success of integration at Sedgefield Junior High School, and also within the Charlotte Mecklenburg Junior Symphony Orchestra, where she played the violin. In contrast Ms. Baxter indicates significant and even violent problems with integration at Harding High School, describing how the principal fuelled racial conflict through uneven treatment of students. Baxter returned to Harding to deliver the commencement address ten years after she graduated, and here she describes the significant change in racial relations that had occurred during the interim.
Interview with Freddie and Christine Sanders
Freddie and Christine Sanders reflect on what it was like to be students at Second Ward High School in Charlotte’s “Brooklyn” neighborhood during segregation in the early 1950s. Mr. Sanders also reminisces about growing up in “Brooklyn".