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Interview with Jeanne Brayboy

Brayboy, Jeanne, 1930-
Hallinan, Pat
Date of Interview: 
Brayboy, Jeanne, 1930-; Counts-Scoggins, Dorothy, 1942-; King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968; Oaklawn Elementary School (Charlotte, N.C.); Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools; Methodist Church (U.S.); Music--Study and teaching (Elementary); Segregation in education; School integration; School integration--Public opinion; Busing for school integration; Race relations; North Carolina--Charlotte; South Carolina--Camden; Massachusetts--Boston; Interviews (Sound recordings); Oral histories
Jeanne Brayboy recounts her life, career as an elementary school music teacher, and firsthand experience of Charlotte’s schools before and after integration. She moved to Charlotte after college and began teaching in segregated black schools, which she notes had inferior resources compared with the white schools. Mrs. Brayboy talks about the schools she taught in during and after integration of Charlotte’s schools through busing, most notably Oaklawn Elementary. She shares her experiences working in schools where the majority of the teachers and students were white. Most of the teachers, students, and parents she encountered accepted school integration. However, she recounts how a few white students were openly defiant toward African American teachers, and one white teacher was sneakily disrespectful to Mrs. Brayboy by never using her correct name. Mrs. Brayboy describes her children’s experiences attending Charlotte schools in the 1970s during integration, which she believes were largely positive despite lengthy bus rides. She discusses her own education at a small segregated first through twelfth grade Methodist school in South Carolina, then Bennett College in Greensboro, and graduate work at Boston University. She describes how attending the Methodist primary and secondary school influenced her outlook on life, and how she was able to attend college and graduate school through Methodist Church scholarships. Mrs. Brayboy also mentions briefly dating Martin Luther King, Jr. while at Boston University. She concludes the interview by expressing her disapproval of Charlotte newcomers who want to dismantle the entire school busing program in favor of neighborhood schools so that their children can attend homogeneous schools close to home. Mrs. Brayboy states her belief that overall, the school busing program in Charlotte was a success and that ending it would lead to increased inequality.
North Carolina--Charlotte; South Carolina--Camden; Massachusetts--Boston; circa 1940 - 1997
David Goldfield student project on change in the Charlotte region
Interview Audio: