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Madge Hopkins Oral History Excerpt (desegregation)

Madge Hopkins attended segregated schools in Charlotte, North Carolina. She remembers hearing abut Dorothy Counts, a young woman she knew through church, becoming one of the first four students to desegregate Charlotte's schools. Counts struggled with verbal and physical harassment: Her brother's car windshield was broken when he picked her up from school, she was taunted on a daily basis, and her family received many threats of violence. The harassment continued for weeks, and Counts' parents decided to withdraw her from school to protect her safety.

Audio File: 

Madge Hopkins Oral History - Desegregation Pioneers by ncdigitalhistory


Audio Transcript

Madge Hopkins
I became aware of school desegregation and the issue when I was at Northwest and Dorothy Counts began integrating the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and we all talked about it and everybody knew about it.

Pamela Grundy (interviewer)
When you say you all talked about it, what did you talk about? What did you all say about it?

Madge Hopkins
What was going on and what was happening to her. You overheard teachers talking. I'm sure -- I think Dorothy had been through Northwest and so we were all aware of that.

Pamela Grundy (interviewer)
Because her parents worked at Smith, I believe.

Madge Hopkins
Hm-hm. Yeah. And at one time, and we probably, yeah, we talked about it at church. Her father at one time had been, I don't think he... he had been a supply -- I remember seeing her because her father had been a guest minister or supplied minister at my church. Which is a Presbyterian Church, same church I still attend and he was a Presbyterian minister. And I remember seeing her and her family so I could identify with her although she wasn't at Northwest.

Pamela Grundy (interviewer)
What were you thinking? Did that seem... I guess what were your feelings about that and maybe even related to yourself and this situation, changing situation.

Madge Hopkins
I didn't relate to it in terms of myself, in terms of my attending a school other than Northwest because at that time I was at Northwest. I thought she was brave and... not something that I wanted to do, didn't have any desire to do that.

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