- Goldmine: Root
- Oral History Collections
- Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick and De Kirkpatrick on the Legacy of Slavery in Mecklenburg County
- Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick and H.D. Kirkpatrick oral history interview 1, 2017 October 6
Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick and H.D. Kirkpatrick oral history interview 1, 2017 October 6
In this first of four related interviews, Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick and H.D. Kirkpatrick discuss their disparate experiences growing up and attending school in segregated Charlotte, North Carolina during the 1950s and 1960s. Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick talks about Grier Town (now Grier Heights), a community created by former slaves including his great-great-grandfather James McVay. He discusses the history of the McVay family in some depth, describing their participation in the Northern Migration from Chester County, South Carolina to Mecklenburg County, North Carolina after the Civil War. H.D. Kirkpatrick describes growing up in the Dilworth neighborhood on land that had previously been his grandfather's dairy farm, Kirkwood Dairy, which had earlier been part of a much larger plantation belonging to his family. Both his parents owned businesses, including a restaurant called the Kirkwood Room, which his mother ran from their home. and he describes the diversity of the people who worked there and his own experience working there as a teenager. Both Kirkpatricks discuss their exposure to racism at home, at school and in church, and their personal experiences of the Civil Rights Movement. H.D. Kirkpatrick describes how the Vietnam War awakened him to racial injustice. The interview concludes with recollections of Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick's experiences playing football at Myers Park High School, levels of acceptance within the team, his continuing relations with his Second Ward friends and their outlook on his situation playing on a mostly white team, and the controversy over nominations for the 1965 Shrine Bowl game when Jimmie Lee was passed over to represent North Carolina despite his stellar record. Both Kirkpatricks discuss local reactions to the Shrine Bowl debacle, including the lawsuit brought against the Shrine Bowl organization by civil rights lawyer Julius Chambers, the bombing of three local civil rights activists' houses that followed, and how these events were perceived locally.