- Goldmine: Root
- Oral History Collections
- Levine Museum of the New South
- West Charlotte High School During Integration
- Betty Seizinger oral history interview, 1999 June 22
Betty Seizinger oral history interview, 1999 June 22
Betty Seizinger discusses the history of West Charlotte High School and shares her experiences as a teacher there during the 1980s. Ms. Seizinger describes West Charlotte's challenges and successes in integrating staff and students during the 1970s. She talks about tensions that grew within the school during the 1980s and 1990s and a belief that while integration was a success, inequality between white and black students in the schools was still present. Ms. Seizinger states that black students and families were more inconvenienced and less considered than their white counterparts during implementation of integration across the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system. Other points of contention include underrepresentation of black students in upper level classes and a shift towards increasingly white teacher leadership within West Charlotte during the 1980s. Despite these shortcomings, 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. She also describes white flight from Charlotte's public schools into what she called "segregation academies" (private schools that 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 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. The interview closes with a related discussion about Davidson College.