Segregation

Jim Grimsley was an 11-year-old boy growing up in Jones County, North Carolina, when the first black children enrolled in his all-white school.

It was more than 10 years after Brown v. Board of Education and Grimsley’s whole world was about to change. Grimsley gets into this in his new memoir, in which he describes the racist environment in which he was raised and how he began to rethink his assumptions.

Rex Miller

Tennis legend Althea Gibson emerged from South Carolina to break color barriers in professional tennis.

In 1956, she became the first person of color to win a Grand Slam tournament, and went on to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Open the following year. 

She became a champion despite the rules of the segregation era, a time when country clubs would not allow her to dress in their clubhouses. 

The new documentary “Althea” provides a glimpse of how she did it.

He started out in golf as a caddy, earning handfuls of change as a boy. Decades later, Charlie Sifford was named to the World Golf Hall of Fame, after a career marked by talent, character and the drive to change his sport. Sifford, the first black golfer to hold a PGA Tour card, has died at age 92.

Bob Jones, leader of the N.C. KKK, April 1965
Bruce Roberts / The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

At one time North Carolina had more Ku Klux Klan members than all other the states combined, even though the state was seen as more racial progressive than others in the South.

The PBS documentary series American Experience explores this idea with its latest episode, Klansville U.S.A.

Callie Wiser is the film's director. She talked with Phoebe Judge about the rise and fall of the KKK in North Carolina:

Interview highlights:

Clemon H. Terrell enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1950 as a steward. He would make the officers' beds and shine their shoes, among other duties. Due to segregation, there were limited opportunities for advancement. This week, 34 years following his retirement from the service, Terrell was promoted to honorary Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer.
 

"I was ecstatic. Being promoted to Chief Petty Officer is a prestigious promotion," he said, adding that the the Chief Petty Officer has the respect of everyone "from the Admiral on down."

Lulu Publishing

    

Raleigh native Smedes York has witnessed and facilitated decades of growth in his hometown.

His father developed the iconic Cameron Village in the late 1940s, and he tackled the redevelopment of downtown during his time as mayor from 1979 to 1983.

His memoir, Growing up with Raleigh (Lulu Publishing/2014), documents a life of business, politics and urban planning in North Carolina's capital city.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Smedes York and historian John Sharpe about Growing Up With Raleigh.

Segregation Again

Jun 26, 2014
Photo of African American students getting on a school bus in Grimesland, North Carolina in the 1950s
ECU Digital Collections/Flickr

    

This year marks the 60th anniversary of Brown V. Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court decision that ushered in the era of school desegregation.