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Oral History Interview with John Foster by William Chafe

@ University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Foster, John R


This February 19, 1973, oral history interview conducted by William Chafe with John Foster primarily documents Foster's recollections of school desegregation when he served as chairman of the Greensboro Board of Education, particularly the decision to implement the Pearsall Plan in 1957. He discusses regional differences in reaction to school desegregation, particularly in eastern North Carolina, and suggests the causes of the differences. Foster also describes the collaboration between the Greensboro, Charlotte, and Winston-Salem school boards; why Raleigh and Durham weren't included in the coalition; the roles of Ben Smith, John Tarpley, and Governor Luther Hodges; the board's fear of class action law suits; and the inevitability of school desegregation. Other topics include sneaking William Hampton into a segregated restaurant for a school board meeting; the criteria used in selecting black students to desegregate schools; Gillespie Park Elementary being the most difficult school to integrate; local newspaper coverage; other members of the school board; and white flight in Greensboro.
Chafe, William H., 1942
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University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Record Harvested From

North Carolina Digital Heritage Center