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Interview with Betty Seizinger

Seizinger, Betty
Williams, Jill
Date of Interview: 
Seizinger, Betty; West Charlotte High School (Charlotte, N.C.); Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools; Davidson college; Segregation in education; Integration in education; Teachers; Middle class; Advanced placement programs (Education); Busing for school integration; Track system (Education); School budgets; North Carolina--Charlotte; Interviews (Sound recordings); Oral histories
Betty Seizinger summarizes the history of West Charlotte High School and shares her experiences as a teacher there during the 1980s. Ms. Seizinger discusses the challenges and triumphs of the school in integrating both staff and students during the 1970s. She also points out the growing tensions that emerged within the school over the next two decades. In particular Ms. Seizinger notes the inequities inherent in the implementation of integration across the Charlotte Mecklenburg School system, where black communities were more inconvenienced and less considered than their white counterparts. Other racial imbalances that are mentioned include underrepresentation of black students in upper level classes, and a shift towards increasingly white teacher leadership within West Charlotte in the 1980s. Nevertheless, Ms. Seizinger characterizes West Charlotte High School as "the school that made desegregation work," praising the principals, staff, and parents, who created a unique culture and made the school a role model on a national level. Ms. Seizinger’s narrative continues with a description of "white flight" from Charlotte’s public schools into what she called segregation academies (private schools who were exempt from the new laws prohibiting segregation), the emergence of a neighborhood school movement that picked up pace with the rapid suburban growth of the city, and the implications of the proliferation of magnet schools within the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System. The interview closes with a related discussion about Davidson College.
North Carolina--Charlotte; 1980 - 1999
Interview Setting: 
Home of Betty Seizinger, North Carolina--Charlotte
Levine Museum of the New South, West Charlotte Series
Collection Description: 
For this series, interviewer Jill Williams interviewed former students, teachers, administrators and parents associated with West Charlotte High School during the early years of racial integration in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.
Interview Audio: