- 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 2, 2017 October 10
Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick and H.D. Kirkpatrick oral history interview 2, 2017 October 10
In this second of four related interviews with Jimmie Lee and H.D. Kirkpatrick, Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick discusses his eventful life after graduating from Myers Park High School in 1965. He describes how he attended Purdue University, where he continued to struggle with racism and white social norms that he had encountered in high school. Although he discovered a passion for music, performed in a successful band, and successfully agitated to reform college life for African American students at Purdue, Mr. Kirkpatrick also lost his enthusiasm for football after a career-changing knee injury, and became disillusioned with college life and society in general. He describes how he decided to drop out of college and move to San Francisco, California to learn more about himself and society. In California, Mr. Kirkpatrick experienced homelessness as well as communal living and political activism, and his connections within hippy culture led him to Portland and Tillamook, Oregon, where he worked in the logging industry. Mr. Kirkpatrick describes his experience when he was drafted to go to Vietnam, and how he narrowly avoided the draft by getting a deferment from his doctor for his injured knee. He reflects on his growing interest in teaching at this time, which led to his decision to resume his own education. In 1977, he finished his masters degree in education and became a teacher in Portland, Oregon. As a teacher he was often called upon to handle racial integration in the Portland Public Schools, which led him to reflect on his own family origins and research his genealogy. In 2013, Mr. Kirkpatrick was contacted by Gary Schwab, an editor for the Charlotte Observer, who was writing articles about the 1965 Shrine Bowl controversy during which Mr. Kirkpatrick was passed over to compete for North Carolina. Mr. Kirkpatrick reflects on his central role in this controversy, and the way he handled the situation at the time. The interview concludes with H. D. Kirkpatrick describing how he was impressed by the Observer articles, and how he reached out to Mr. Schwab to connect him with his former classmate, from which began an extraordinary journey of discovering a shared family history. In the next interview Jimmie Lee and H.D. Kirkpatrick describe how their relationship has developed over several years.