Reginald A. Hawkins oral history interview 1, 2001 June 11
In this interview, Dr. Reginald Armistice Hawkins discusses his significant involvement in the African American Civil Rights Movement nationally, within the state of North Carolina, and in Mecklenburg County. Mr. Hawkins candidly describes his experiences during the era of segregation, as well as his activities as a political activist when he was a student at Johnson C. Smith University during the early 1940s, and after his return to Charlotte to practice dentistry in 1948. As a member of the local NAACP, and as the organizer of the Mecklenburg Organization on Political Affairs (MOPA), Mr. Hawkins was closely involved with local political protests for many years. He discusses his role in advocating for school integration during the period following Brown v. Board of Education. He also highlights his involvement in the landmark Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education case, which introduced integration through busing in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools. Mr. Hawkins also describes the reprisals he experienced in response to his activism. Of particular note were bomb attacks on his and other local black leaders' homes in 1965. Mr. Hawkins describes his involvement with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the local response to Dr. King's tragic assassination in 1968. He closes the interview by stressing the impact that black women had on the civil rights movement, and the significance of his local political action group, MOPA.