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Interview with Jack Claiborne

Interviewee: 
Claiborne, Jack
Interviewer: 
Desmarais, Melinda H.
Date of Interview: 
2003-06-05
Identifier: 
OHCL0294
Subjects: 
Claiborne, Jack; McKnight, C.A.; Cone, Bonnie E., 1907-2003; Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C. : 1916); Charlotte Hornets (Baseball team); University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Editorials; Sports journalism; Newspapers; Journalists; Newspaper editors; Segregation; Race discrimination; Race relations; North Carolina--Charlotte; Illinois--Chicago; Interviews (Sound recordings); Oral histories
Abstract: 
Jack Claiborne, former editor at the Charlotte Observer and former director of public relations at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte), reflects on his life, work, and the city of Charlotte. Mr. Claiborne talks about his childhood growing up on a farm in rural Mecklenburg County, his experiences as a teenager during World War II, and how his interest in baseball and the Charlotte Hornets led him to sports writing and eventually other branches of journalism. Mr. Claiborne discusses his forty year career at the Charlotte Observer, where he is best remembered for his weekly editorial column This Time and Place which ran from 1970-1990. He recounts the difficulties faced by the Observer’s first African American journalists and how the paper and newsroom culture transformed during Pete McKnight’s tenure as editor-in-chief. As both city editor and Carolinas editor during the turbulent 1960s, Claiborne remembers how the paper’s opinions on race, racism, and desegregation were often seen as controversial and provoked angry responses from certain parts of the community. Claiborne eventually went on to become the director of public relations at UNC Charlotte. Here he discusses the growth and development of the university, his time working there, and his beliefs on the importance of the University for the future of Charlotte. Throughout the interview he shares his reflections on the growth of Charlotte as a city, people who promoted change within Charlotte, and some of the major challenges facing the city today.
Coverage: 
North Carolina--Charlotte; Illinois--Chicago; circa 1940 - 2003
Interview Setting: 
Home of Jack Claiborne, North Carolina--Charlotte
Collection: 
Oral History, OH
Interview Audio: 
Transcript:
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