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0:01 - Interview introduction

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Partial Transcript: Today is Saturday, June 27, 2015. My name is Lisa Withers and I am in the

Segment Synopsis: Interviewer introduces herself and the interviewee and states the purpose of the interview

0:37 - Personal background

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Partial Transcript: I was born in 1949 and I was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina, which is about

Segment Synopsis: Interviewee introduces herself and states some personal background about herself

1:59 - Early education

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Partial Transcript: But you stayed at Dillard?

Segment Synopsis: Covington speaks on her early educational experiences.

4:08 - Growing up in the 1960s

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Partial Transcript: Okay, so what was it like growing up in the 1960s?

Segment Synopsis: Covington describes her time growing up in the 1960s and how that affected her education.

7:21 - UNCG decision

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Partial Transcript: So coming from an all-black high school, was there—what was the reaction of

Segment Synopsis: Covington recalls her decision to attend UNCG and her early experiences at UNCG

14:57 - UNCG educational experiences

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Partial Transcript: Very interesting, very interesting. So again, you know, a part of the times. But, I

Segment Synopsis: Covington talks about her educational experience at UNCG, she expands on what the classes and teachers were like.

21:19 - Life in the dorms

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Partial Transcript: Okay and so we are restarting the recorder. So you—you talked a lot about

Segment Synopsis: Covington remembers life in the dorms and her roommates.

28:00 - Changes from freshman to senior year

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Partial Transcript: Wait, so they heavily regulated where the students went.

Segment Synopsis: Covington describes the changes that happened during her time at the school. These changes especially apply to a students ability to leave campus.

29:14 - Administration

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Partial Transcript: You know I wanted to ask, I was talking to someone who mentioned that there

Segment Synopsis: Covington only briefly remembers the protest to change administration regulations of curfews

30:05 - Locations of old hangouts

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Partial Transcript: So you mentioned The Corner was a place you would frequent. Do you remember

Segment Synopsis: Covington locates where old restaurants and hangout places would be today.

31:03 - Choosing a major

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Partial Transcript: Okay. So—oh, man I have so many follow ups and it's just like trying to keep it

Segment Synopsis: Covington describes her personal process of choosing a major at UNCG.

33:26 - Transition to UNCG

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Partial Transcript: So can you tell me about your transition? How did you feel about your transition

Segment Synopsis: Covington recalls her transition from high school to UNCG

37:04 - Social events and social life

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Partial Transcript: Well, I was going to shift a little bit more into the social, extracurricular. I know

Segment Synopsis: Covington describes several social events that would happen on and off campus.

44:27 - Interactions with other colleges

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Partial Transcript: Okay, so there seemed to be a lot of interactions with, you know, between

Segment Synopsis: Covington reflects on her personal interactions with students from Bennett College.

45:08 - Other social events

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Partial Transcript: I joined the—what did they call it? The Alumni Friends or whatever. It was kind

Segment Synopsis: Covington talks about some other social events and groups she was involved with

47:13 - Neo-Black Society and political climate

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Partial Transcript: Yes, so you mentioned the Neo-Black Society, which is a—an organization that

Segment Synopsis: Covington recalls what the Neo-Black Society did on campus.

50:57 - Cafeteria strike

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Partial Transcript: And so something else you that mentioned earlier in the interview that I've heard

Segment Synopsis: Covington recalls the cafeteria strike and the Neo-Black Society's involvement.

52:47 - Dining Hall

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Partial Transcript: So, I've heard several interesting stories about the dining hall. Is there anything

Segment Synopsis: Covington describes the enjoyable atmosphere of the dining hall

54:24 - Woman's College traditions

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Partial Transcript: [Laughter] Alright, so I'm just going through my list. We've thoroughly covered a

Segment Synopsis: Covington reflects on elements on campus that kept the feel of Woman's College.

56:16 - Ending thoughts

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Partial Transcript: And so, but to, I guess to finish off the interview, you've already mentioned, you

Segment Synopsis: Covington shares a few final thoughts

58:00 - Interview conclusion

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Partial Transcript: Awesome. Well I don't have any formal questions. Is there anything else you

Segment Synopsis: Interviewer ends the interview


LW: Today is Saturday, June 27, 2015. My name is Lisa Withers and I am in the residence of Mrs. Raynette Greene Covington, Class of 1971. We are here to conduct an oral history interview for the African American Institutional Memory Project. Thank you, Mrs. Covington, for participating in this project and for sharing your experiences with me today. I'd like to start the interview by asking about your background. So, would you please tell me where and when you were born?

RC: I was born in 1949 and I was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina, which is about fifty-two miles on the other side of Raleigh [North Carolina]. I grew up in Goldsboro attending the public schools there. I grew up in a pretty much in a 1:00single family home with my mom and my grandmother. I have three siblings, all younger brothers. I went to kindergarten and elementary, you know, at that time, junior high and high school graduating from Dillard High School in 1967. And, that was an African American high school so it was segregated although at the end of my high school career, integration had come about and some of my friends in the community did attend the predominately white Goldsboro High School at the time.


LW: But you stayed at Dillard?

RC: I stayed at Dillard, yes, and did well there graduating as second in my class. And so in looking at schools I looked at, you know, of course historically black colleges [HBCUs], which we weren't calling it that at the time, but looked at some of those, Howard [University, Washington, District of Columbia], Fisk [University, Nashville, Tennessee], I think NCC, North Carolina Central [University, Durham, North Carolina], and then looked at UNCG [The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina]. And I'm trying to remember what made me first look at UNCG. I think it was I had done some debating competitions in Greensboro and for some reason I thought Greensboro was a wonderful place to be and my high school counselor said, "Why 3:00don't you look at this school," and did. Got accepted, got the National Achievement Scholar Scholarship which allowed me to take that scholarship to any school that I wanted to go to but also got some financial aid from UNCG, so I was going to be able to go without having to pay any money so that was really good because, you know, my mom didn't really--wasn't really able to send me. My father was very much involved in my life and he would have helped but it was great to not have to pay any money. So, that's probably the reason I decided to go there.

LW: Yes, you said it was your guidance counselor.

RC: Yes, my guidance counselor.


LW: Okay, just making sure.

RC: Yes.

LW: Okay, so what was it like growing up in the 1960s?

RC: Well, of course, like I said, predominantly throughout my childhood everything was, you know, mostly segregated. I can remember the start of talking about, discussions about integration and the marches and even some people that I knew who were older than me that were in high school, kids, teenagers that participated in marches and went to jail and talked about their experiences in there how, you know, they were treated and things like that. And, you know, it seemed like that was something you should be a part of but my grandmother was like, "No, you are not going out there because I'm going to get upset," and they 5:00said, "If you can't handle it, don't do it." But, you know, it was very much in the news and things started, you know, to change. I can remember writing letters to some of my friends that in the summer they would go off to visit relatives in the north and we would write letters back and forth and, you know, we talked about what was happening, and I thought, now I think, "Oh, I wish we could--had those letters. They would kind of be historical," you know, just reflecting from a teenage point of view what is was like to see history playing out before your eyes in that--in that way. You know, of course, everybody was always wanting to hear Dr. [Martin Luther] King, [Jr.] on the television or whatever whenever he would make speeches and very much keeping up with what he was doing but, you know, and then the few friends I did have that went to Goldsboro High School, you know, how they were, you know, they knew they weren't wanted there but they 6:00just put up with it so it opened up the way and their parents sacrificed, you know, for them to go there and open up the way. So, kind of, I guess UNCG was kind of a pioneering experience as well. I, in my class, I went to UNCG, the number one classmate, she went to Duke [University, Durham, North Carolina] and then one of my friends, he went to State.

LW: Okay, N.C. State [North Carolina State University] in Raleigh [North Carolina].

RC: Right, and so, we kind of were pioneers in that, so out of our class we were three that went to, let me say, went to white schools [laughter]. And 7:00did--all of us graduated and did well. So, you know, it was great.

LW: So coming from an all-black high school, was there--what was the reaction of family and friends at your decision to go to UNCG?

RC: They were proud but I think nervous. I know my mom and my dad both, my grandmamma, they were just proud I had this opportunity but they were somewhat nervous as to what was going to happen. One of the things that I remember is the first day, first day of going. Mom got all my stuff and packed it, took me there, and it happened that, I think we got there first before my roommate. But 8:00I had already decided that I wanted to find out if my roommate was white before I got to school because I didn't want to have a scene when I got to school. So I decided--the university sent us, each of us, the names of your roommate. They assigned your roommates at that time. So, they sent us her name, I got her name and her name was, this is just to show you what the times were like and the thinking was like, her name was Barbara June. I said, "She's white." If she was black, her name would be Barbara Jean. Her name is Barbara June, she's white. My mom said, "You don't know--." "Yes I do, I do know this. But I'm going to write her a letter. I'm going to send her a picture so she can see me and she can decide before we get there if she wants to room with me and we won't have a scene." So that's I did and she sent me a letter back with her picture and she 9:00was white and all about her and that she was excited to room with me and everything. And so that kind of set the tone and when we got there, her mom was very nice. Her mom was a widow. Her father had--was deceased. Her mom had brought her down. Mom took us both to Friendly Shopping Center to get matching, you know, bed spreads and all this kind of stuff and so my first day was a good day. Whereas down the hall from me, one black girl, when she came into her room, her roommate and parents had a fit and they wanted her moved immediately. It was awful.


LW: So it was like a big, public scene that happened or--?

RC: It was a scene in the hall. Anybody who was up there knew that this was what had happened. It just wasn't pleasant and I was again happy that I had, you know [laughter].

LW: You had done some prep work.

RC: Yes, exactly, exactly. But, my roommate and I got along fabulously and in fact we still kind of keep in touch. We--she's been to my house and you know, so over the years we have kept in touch with one another. Even though we had planned to room together our sophomore year but she met her husband, fell in love, and moved back, moved back home [laughter], but, again, groundbreaking. She wanted me to come to her wedding. Be a hostess at her wedding and 11:00groundbreaking at that time. You know, it just, it just wasn't happening. Even my freshman year, I--on my hall, everybody was white on my hall, I thought. I'll have to explain that. But I had--there were two roommates, other black girls that were rooming together on the other hall and but I was really good friends with the one that was kind of around me and one of our friends wanted me to go to go with the group to her aunt's house in town to have a sleepover. And they were like, you know, "Ray, you can go," and I'm thinking in my head, "I don't know about this," [laughter], "And I don't know if I do." So they got on the phone, I was talking to my mom and grandmother and they was like, "Oh Mrs. Greene, Mrs. 12:00Greene, please let Ray go," and, "Aunt Libby knows she's coming and she's okay with it," and all this and you know. You know, it just--it just was a different time. So but anyway, my mom agreed and I went and we had fun and everything went well. But it's part of, I guess, you know, the history of getting used to being with each other and learning each other and not--and for me, not being afraid of how they're going to treat you even though the girls were treating me fine, I don't know what their parents are thinking, you know. So, that--and I said about on the hall. There was one girl that was on our hall that was, I found out really was African American but she was very fair and I don't think her roommates and the people around her knew that she was. The way I found out was 13:00someone from her home town who was going to A&T [North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, Greensboro, North Carolina] came over to visit me and he asked me about her. He said, "There's another black girl in there," and I said, "Well, there's this person and this person," and I named the two people I knew. "No, no, no, she's in here." "No, she's not. I know who's in here." And I was in South Spencer [Residence Hall] and he said, "She is," and I--so he called up for her and they said, "What--Who's calling for her?" And he gave his name and she never came down. And so, I was like, "Okay." But, apparently she was passing or letting everybody assume, I'll put it that way.

LW: That's what I was going to ask like--don't want to--I don't want to read too much into it but do you know if it was intentional passing or just overlooked and no else one knew and it was just like, "Well, okay."

RC: I--I guess they, well, like I said or was just letting everyone assume 14:00because we assumed. I mean we saw her all the time but we just assumed and that she was white and I would not have known had he come--not come and I know where she's from not too far from--and a lot of people down there were really, really fair at that time and so it was easy to happen because it would be the kind of thing, "Well, I don't know." And the hair texture and everything was such that you wouldn't, you know, question it. And so he's like, "No, she's not white, she's black." I was like, "I don't think she's white." "We're from the same place, I know" [laughter]. But that was just funny. It was just funny, so. Of course we never said anything to her or tried to--you know. Do what you want to do.

LW: It was just an interesting discovery.

RC: Very interesting.

LW: On accident--I mean, accidental, yes.

RC: Very interesting, very interesting. So again, you know, a part of the 15:00times. But, I have to say that for me, my experiences at UNCG were pretty much positive. Had a couple of teachers that you kind of figured they're prejudiced no matter what, you know, they're not going to call on you that much, they're, you know, not going to grade you as high or whatever. You're just here. Do the best you can and get out of this class, you know. No grades that were like, you know like they're like trying to fail me or anything like that. But, you know, you just kind of had a sense, but then I had some great teachers. You know, one really stands out in my mind and that was Dr. [Walter T.] Luczynski.


LW: Whew, that's a name.

RC: [Laughter].

LW: Do you, and remember how--?

RC: L-u-c-z-y-n-s-k-i.

LW: Whoa. L-u-c-z.

RC: Z-y-n-s-k-i.

LW: Okay. I think I got it.

RC: And he was great. He--I remember the first test, and again, the times back in that time, you had to take your test in what they call blue books. Has anybody told you that?

LW: Well, they still used blue books--.

RC: The blue books.

LW: Well. Today a lot of things--when I was going through undergrad, not too many years ago, we had them. But they may have phased them out by now.

RC: Right.

LW: [Laughter]

RC: But blue books. You had to write in the blue book and took the test. The first test and gave it back and I had a "C." Well I had about had a hissy fit because a "C" just wasn't anything I wanted to have and I was just devastated. So he said, you know, "If you got a grade that's not what you're used to getting 17:00or whatever, you have problems, come and see me." So I set up an appointment and he was just so nice talking about, you know, a lot of people come from smaller schools and not used to this kind of testing or whatever and you know whatever I can do to help you and this is what you need to work on, whatever. And I was just so encouraged by that. By that and also that he wanted all of us to know his name. Know how to spell his name and he wanted--he wouldn't let you--he called us, everybody, Miss Greene, Mr. So and so, and all of that. And he wouldn't let women wear pants to class, you couldn't wear pants, and you couldn't come to class with rollers in your hair. And that was something during that era that a lot of people did, come to class with--women came to class with rollers in their 18:00hair. I never did that but that's what they did. So, he was like, "No, no rollers." So he had certain rules or whatever. He took the time to know you. If you see him across campus he'd go, "Miss Greene," even to the day I graduated, "How are you doing?" You know and all like that. He was just a great, great teacher and I had some other great, great teachers there. My experiences were pretty much positive as far as teachers and students and whatever. Some of my classmates, you know, had some other instances where stuff was said in class that they thought was disrespectful or just not aware of the differences in cultures and not sensitive, and things like that. Particularly, I have a couple of classmates that were in sociology and they would go to class and they'd come 19:00back fuming [laughter]. And I would be like, "What is ya'll's problem?" But they, because it was like the people in the class, even though they were in sociology, weren't sensitive to our culture. They were somewhat condescending I guess and like they would swoop in and be the savior and didn't really understand what was going on. So they would come back just all worked up when they would go to class. But, you know, I enjoyed my time at UNCG. But it was, you know, civil rights--Dr. [Martin Luther] King, [Jr.] was killed while I was in school. We had the riots. When he was killed and we had riots and everything, my 20:00roommate at the time, we decided we got to get out of here because we didn't know what was going to happen and so she found a friend to take us home for that weekend and I think the university kind of shut down some or whatever because it was just a volatile time. So, we left and the person who was taking us home drove through town and we saw the National Guard standing out with their rifles so that was like a war zone. It was unbelievable. So those were just some of the things--that stands out in my mind. Also stands out in my mind, there was a cafeteria worker's strike and so we stood out on the streets holding up signs and participating in that protest, yeah.

LW: I just like listening to you talking, making a list of follow up questions [door bell]. Yes, someone, the doorbell rang. It's fine. I can pause.


RC: Okay, if you pause and I can see what is going on out here.

[21:12-21:21 Recording paused then restarted]

LW: Okay and so we are restarting the recorder. So you--you talked a lot about several different things.

RC: I did [laughter].

LW: So I was wondering if I could go back and ask some follow up questions.

RC: Sure.

LW: Get a few more details. So you mentioned you were in South Spencer.

RC: Yes.

LW: Was that just your freshman year?

RC: Yes.

LW: Okay, so what were all the other dormitories you stayed in?

RC: I stayed in Ragsdale-Mendenhall [Residence Hall].

LW: Okay.

RC: And I stayed in the Ragsdale side.

LW: Okay, was that for the rest of the three years?

RC: Yes, for the rest of the three years and, like I said, because you stayed in your--the freshman dorm and then you had to pick a dorm for the next year and 22:00pretty much, unless you wanted to change, you could be in that dorm until--for the rest--the next three years, so my freshman roommate, like I said, we had planned to room together but then she decided to go ahead and get married. So, at first, I did not have a roommate and there was someone else who, she didn't have a roommate either so we roomed together first semester. Even though we got along okay, she liked to watch TV while she was studying and I could not have the TV on while I was studying. That was not going to work for me. So she 23:00decided to move out and I had, that second semester, I had the room all to myself. And then, my last two years, I roomed with one of my friends who, I said that two black girls had roomed together in South Spencer. Well, that roommate had gone and really she didn't make it that first year. Her academics weren't good enough, grades weren't good enough, and so we roomed together for the last two years in that same dorm and at that time you could just store your things down in the basement, most of it, you know, in the basement over the summer. Box them up and store them and you didn't have to take everything home and bring it back and whatever. But yes, I stayed on campus the--there wasn't a whole lot of staying off campus going on at that time [laughter]. It wasn't--I didn't have a car or any of that stuff like they do now.

LW: So, I know you just mentioned--I never heard of, you know, during the summer you could store your things.


RC: Yes, I know.

LW: I know when I was in school you had to move everything out and then move everything back in. So what were some other things about dorm life at that time period? What was it like?

RC: Oh, of course, we had--we started during that time. Freshman year we didn't have it, so I'm trying to think. When did it start? The little refrigerators, where you could have the refrigerators some time along that time, they--you got the refrigeration. We had those and some people would have hot plates or they'd have popcorn poppers that they would use to boil stuff.

LW: To boil stuff?

RC: Boil stuff, they would just, you know, heating up stuff [unclear]. But that started coming up. But we didn't have phones in our rooms so we had, you had a little booth down the hall where there was a phone and you could go in there and 25:00call people up. People could call you at certain times or whatever and other people of course would be waiting out in the hall to use the phone and all of that. So that was totally different. You didn't have, you know, rest rooms or showers in--areas. You just had your room. You had to go down the hall for all of that. And the laundry was down in the basement I think but it was in the dorms so it was convenient that way. And I always say that one of the things that I remember about that time was from freshman year to senior year, things did a total turn around because freshman year, you could not go anywhere without your parent's permission. So, like, like I told you, like my freshman year when I wanted to go do this sleepover at my friend's aunt's house, I had to get written 26:00permission from my mom, written permission. You had dorm mothers at that time so if you were going to like, we would always talk about going down to The Corner and so, going down to The Corner which was a store and there was some restaurants and at that time there was a place called The Cellar that was an eating establishment and I think, I think they had sold drinks in there too but it was pretty much an eating establishment. It was down at The Corner too. But you could walk there but you still had to get permission that it was okay for you to be able to go down to The Corner at certain times or whatever. If you were going to go off campus, you had to get that written permission. So you had to sign out, in and out. Unless you were going to class you had to sign out if you were going off campus. So, but by the time I graduated, you could go anywhere you wanted to go and it was just like--and co-ed dorms came in during 27:00the time I was there, didn't have that at first. Then, you know, because like I laugh because, like I said, you had to sign--get written permission to go anywhere. My senior year, my friends and I, we wanted to go to State. We wanted to go down there because we knew some people down there. Somebody said they're having a party, we said we wanted to go down there. So, I told my friends [cough], we'd go down there on the bus. I'll get my uncle to pick us up and take us to the campus and we'll figure out a way to get back. Well, we didn't get anybody's permission. My mom didn't know I had done that until I was well grown, married, and I just happened to tell her one day. She was like, "What?" 28:00[Laughter, coughing].

LW: Wait, so they heavily regulated where the students went.

RC: For my freshman year but by my senior year, in that four year period, it totally turned around, totally turned around. And they had started like if you wanted to go off and you stayed out and the dorm was locked, then the police officer would--you had to go by the station and tell them what dorm you were in and show your ID and then they would let you in. So, there was none of that being out, you know, past a certain hour freshman year but by senior year, like I said, you could go wherever you wanted to and come back and if the dorm was locked, they'd let you in. So, and by senior year--well freshman year, no guys 29:00could come up to your room, totally out. He comes to the dorm, they call you on the intercom, you come down. By senior year, they could come up to the room and visit you or whatever. So it was just like total, in four years, so much had changed.

LW: Like night and day.

RC: Yes, like night and day.

LW: You know I wanted to ask, I was talking to someone who mentioned that there was a protest to the administration to end curfews. So I didn't know if you knew about that or was even a part of that?

RC: I wasn't a part of that but that probably--and I don't, I just remember the change. I don't remember exactly how it all happened but it was just like okay. I remember just being like, "Okay, you know freshman year you couldn't go anywhere. Now you can go wherever you want to go. This is different." But, you know, again the times--everything was changing, you know outside of the university so it was just following what was going on, you know, more hippie freedom, whatever. All of that was happening [laughter] and it was happening 30:00quite rapidly.

LW: So you mentioned The Corner was a place you would frequent. Do you remember where was that located?

RC: Let's see, what is the name of the street? Spring Street?

LW: Spring Garden?

RC: Spring Garden, yes.

LW: Okay it was on Spring Garden Street.

RC: Yes.

LW And was it--would it be like where Spring Garden and Tate Street intersect?

RC: I think so down there yes. You just walk down and everybody just said, "I'm going to The Corner." And that would be--there was a little store there on the actual corner but then a little to the side of that was a place called The Cellar and at one point there was a restaurant, cafe kind of place called Mel's, Mel's Diner. We ate there a lot.

LW: Mel's as in M-e-l --.


RC: M-e-l.

LW: apostrophe-s?

RC: Yes.

LW: Okay. So--oh, man I have so many follow ups and it's just like trying to keep it all in. Okay, so you talked about your professors, especially Dr.--.

RC: Luczynski.

LW: There you go. See, he would be--he would be getting on me all semester just getting his name right [laughter]. So you talked about that. Was there the same level of interaction either in your experience or, you know, with other students with the administration at the time?

RC: I don't remember a whole lot of interaction with the administration. I really don't.

LW: Okay. And so, I guess also in talking about school work and academics, what was your major?

RC: English.

LW: English, okay. So why did you chose to major in English?

RC: Well, and that's a whole journey [laughter]. In high school, thinking about 32:00what I was going to major in, I first was thinking about psychology but then I thought, okay, as I, you know, researched it and kind of thought about it, that was going to require me to really have the master's degree pretty early on and I didn't know where that money was going to come from so I said, --Okay, you're good in English, that would be a thing to do.-- Loved to read all my life and all that. So, decided you can be a teacher and then if you want to go into that later you can. So that's kind of what happened because I started out as a English teacher in high school and then I went and got a master's in guidance and counseling and so my last half of my career in Charlotte-Meck was in counseling and school psychology. You see the school system had a program where I was able to then go to that and get a master's in school psychology and so that's how I wound up in the field anyway [laughter].


LW: Just took a different route.

RC: Yes, yes, yes.

LW: And so just for clarification for the transcript when you say Charlotte-Meck that's Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools?

RC: Yes, Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System [Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina]. Yes.

LW: Okay, Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Okay and so I feel like I'm getting ready to do the long backtrack here a little bit [chuckle].

RC: That's fine.

LW: So can you tell me about your transition? How did you feel about your transition from high school, from being at Dillard High School, particularly academically but then also socially, to being at UNCG being that you came from a segregated high school to being in the UNCG atmosphere?

RC: Of course it was different in that, you know, as I said, I was second in 34:00the class. You know, you're known. You are--you know, people have certain expectations of you and you've done well in school all your life. So, now you're with people from all different backgrounds who've been exposed to you know different things. For me, I think the fact that I was a reader all my life and may not have experienced of some of the things but I read about a lot of stuff so and I think, you know, reflecting back on it went in it, went there with an open mind that, you know, I don't--I'm going to do the best I can. I'm--I didn't have the expectation that I was going to be a straight "A" student like I was in 35:00high school. So, and I don't think my mom had that expectation, which, you know, some people would say, well, maybe that wasn't good. You should have had, you know--it wasn't a limiting expectation. It wasn't saying I can't do it, it was just saying I might not do it. They might not give me what I deserve. You know, you might not have all of the things that would have helped you because you came from a smaller setting because you came from a segregated setting, whatever. I had some good things in high school that had, I think really helped me. One was, we had a teacher that came to us from Charlotte and she put a lot of us in an advanced English class and started teaching us advanced vocabulary and exposing us to different books and things like that so preparation in that way that was different maybe from some other people. So, you know, but of course, knowing 36:00that you may not have been exposed to you know everything that some other people were exposed to, but knowing, you got the intellect and you are going to work hard and you're going to graduate. I mean that--you're here on scholarship, you cannot lose your scholarship, so you're gonna-- you're gonna do what you need to do. So, you know, I think I went into it with an open mind and looking, again, this is an open door of opportunity that integration has brought about, you know, so it's exciting. You kind of are like a pioneer. And so, that's, that's 37:00how I went into it and I felt, I guess I felt proud to be one of the first so to speak. You know what I'm saying?

LW: Well, I was going to shift a little bit more into the social, extracurricular. I know you mentioned the sleep over.

RC: Yes.

LW: With-- you know, and going to N.C. State in your senior year. I wonder could you share a little bit more about when you weren't studying or preparing for classes what you might do on or off campus.

RC: Yes, we, well one of the things that I remember is when--I doubt they don't do this anymore I'm sure--we first got there, because at that time, UNCG was predominately female. So they had what they called mixers where they would take all of us to Chapel Hill and basically let you out [laughter]. It sounds 38:00ridiculous now but that's what they did. They'd take us all on the bus. Take you to Chapel Hill, let you out, and they would have, you know, a dance and--just so--but you just let out and you just meet people there and then so I--went on this mixer and met these guys, these black guys who were going to Chapel Hill, they were pioneers so the speak, the few black people down there at Chapel Hill. They'd get your number and they might call you. And so I started dating one of the guys and whenever he could come up, again, most people didn't have cars. One of my friends though she met her, who would become her future husband, at that mixer and the whole four years they dated and he came back and forth to 39:00Greensboro and she went back and forth--he did have a car and went back and forth to Chapel Hill or whatever. But that was one experience that stands out in my mind. Because at first, I was like, "This is what--," I mean, you know, you're just let out. And you just start wondering around and somebody comes up and says, "Hi," and my name is such and such. Then you're going to this dance or whatever and we wound up paired up or grouped up or whatever.

LW: So essentially--.

RC: Sounds crazy now.

LW: So essentially they would let you know when the bus was going to Chapel Hill.

RC: Right.

LW: You'd get on the bus.

RC: Right.

LW: You got there.

RC: Right.

LW: You got off the bus and you did whatever.

RC: Right.

LW: Until it's time to get back on the bus.

RC: Right and that was called the mixer. It was the freshman mixer.

LW: Alright.

RC: So it was like a one-time event but a lot of people, you know, met people during that event. Like I said, they did. But it did--now it seems crazy but that--.


LW: It's definitely foreign to the millennial.

RC: Yes, I'm sure, that's why I'm telling you. That's okay.

LW: [Laughter].

RC: But you know A&T [North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, Greensboro, NC] was in town and so a lot of T guys would come over to UNCG because they knew there was mostly females and there a few black girls over there and they would come over or they might have friends that they knew that knew somebody who was going to UNCG and they'd say, "You know. I want you to meet my friend." Now, how I met my husband was kind of like that because his cousin used to come over, which I didn't know this at the time during my freshman year because I didn't know him, he would come over and get some of my friends and other girls, later friends, and other girls to go party and what they would do would be get in his car and they'd go over to T and a lot of guys 41:00had apartments and they would have parties. And you just would go--and this sounds so crazy now--but you would go from house to house you just go in and dance and whatever and then you would go out and you might go next door and somebody was having a party and you dance and whatever and then he put them in the car and bring them back to UNCG. So, my senior year, now all this time, my freshman and sophomore year, definitely, maybe part of my junior year, my husband was in the Air Force so I didn't know he existed. So on my senior year, he drives his cousin over to UNCG. His cousin had called and said, "Do ya'll want to go to a party?" We were like, "Yes, sure." And so he said--so he brought him and went to--his cousin had a house and we went there. We were partying and everything and so he and I were talking and he wanted my number and I said okay. 42:00At that time I'm thinking, "Look, I'm getting ready to leave here. It's my freshman year, you know."

LW: Your senior year.

RC: Yes, my senior year. I'm sorry, my senior year. I'm not going to be around, you know, you can call me or whatever. So, he didn't call that week. So, I said, "Okay, he didn't call." Like I said, I'm leaving. And that next weekend he came again and so when I got down to the car, I didn't know he was there. When I got down to the car and he was driving, I just spoke, got in the back seat. Later on he told me that impressed him because I didn't say, "You said you were going to call me. Why didn't you call me?" Because I'm thinking it doesn't matter I'm going to be leaving here and so I met him in February and married him in August. 43:00Yes and you know it was out of character for me. In fact, we didn't really plan to get married in August. We were going to wait a year and then I got the job in Charlotte and he decided to move down here as well so we decided to move the wedding up, moved it to August. He came on down a couple of weeks ahead, got a job, got an apartment, got all that, got married, and everything worked out fine. You know, he--we married twenty-two and half years and he died and so but--but very happy marriage even though that very short courtship [laughter].

LW: But hey, UNCG. It helps [laughter].

RC: Yes. But you know I dated guys, different guys that went to T and--A&T.

LW: Oh, I knew what you meant, yes, A&T.

RC: And, you know, a couple of guys that just you know, were--I remember one guy from--who grew up in Greensboro, was from the city or whatever. I think I met him through some friends or whatever. But, like I said, a lot of it was guys coming 44:00over because they knew that there were, you know, a few black girls over there and the thought was they probably like to go out or whatever and so it was--it was like that.

LW: Okay, so there seemed to be a lot of interactions with, you know, between students at UNCG with A&T. Any interaction with the students at Bennett?

RC: I didn't even though I had a couple of friends from high school that went there. I, you know, I remember and these two girls were, one in particular I was very close to, and I went over to Bennett and saw her when we first kind of got there but they never came over to UNCG and so we kind of, you know, kind of drifted apart. So I didn't have interaction with them.

LW: Okay, so other than with the parties, anything else on campus or any other 45:00extracurricular activities?

RC: I joined the--what did they call it? The Alumni Friends or whatever. It was kind of a pairing of alumni and students. I'm not sure that's the right name for it. But, I was paired with a lady--I can't even remember her last name now. We kept in touch for a while. And so that was, that was helpful. And then I joined, of course you probably know this, the Neo-Black Society when that started. I became a part of that. You know, but mostly it was, you know, with my friends in 46:00the dorm and we would, you know, go shopping together or do some things like that. Or you know go to--one of the things I really enjoyed was the opportunities the university provided for us to go to concerts and, you know, plays and things like that. Saw Dionne Warwick on campus, saw--Dionne Warwick.

LW: Oh.

RC: On campus. You know, Whitney Houston's aunt. Saw her on campus in concert. At that time Earth, Wind & Fire came to campus. Just had a lot of people and that same Dr. Luczynski, he encouraged us to do some things that we might not do later because the price might be up there, like go to the opera. He was like, "Okay, you just expose yourself to seeing an opera. It's free. You're here at 47:00the university. It's free." Ballets, Alvin Ailey--the first time I saw Alvin Ailey Dance Group was through the university. That was just great. It just gave me a love for that group so when they came to Charlotte, it was like, --Oh, got to go see,-- and you know so just that kind of exposure was great.

LW: Yes, so you mentioned the Neo-Black Society, which is a--an organization that we are always looking for more information about. So, what do you remember about the organization and your involvement with it? Kind of what they did on campus.

RC: Yes, it was just--I remember it got started during my time, again civil rights and all of that. Wasn't an officer or anything like that. Just kind of a member and basically just to keep in touch with what's going on on campus and being a voice, I guess, for the black students on campus and a place where you could express if there was issues and things such as that. That's mainly what I remember.

LW: Because that does--talking about the Neo-Black Society is a segue into 48:00another follow up question I have because I know at the beginning of the interview you mentioned kind of the atmosphere around Dr. [Martin Luther] King's assassination. So I wanted to just ask if there were any other details that you remember about when it happened, how students reacted to it, or kind of what students were saying or feeling about that?

RC: Of course we, black students, were feeling shock, sadness, anger, you know, somewhat fear, you know, what's going to happen? Who's going to be the leader of the black movement? You know, it was just--it was just unsettling you know. And, then, like I said, riots and unrest and looting and burning and things such as that.

LW: Are you saying in general across the U.S. or was it in--?


RC: Across the U.S.

LW: Okay, so just in general?

RC: Then I think some incidents erupted in the city [Greensboro, North Carolina] because, like I said, the National Guard were there and we're like, "What in the world is this?" It's like, it was, you know, you were in a war zone. We at UNCG were not aware of that until we started crossing the city on the way, trying to get out, and went through town and saw them there.

LW: The National Guard.

RC: I think--yes--and I think there was-- I don't remember the details--I think there were some incidents at A&T.

LW: Yes, I've heard several people mention that the National Guard was more so for A&T side of Greensboro but there have been a few mentions that there were National Guard stationed at each end of UNCG's campus. It was just very 50:00sheltered kind of campus.

RC: Yes, right, right, right, right. Like I said, we knew, you know, trying to be aware of the news and we were like, "Okay, we need to get away from here for a little while." And so that's what we did.

LW: Okay.

RC: But--and I think that was the same time, because we were leaving--I remember a meeting with one of my professors because one of the missed--I was going to go home so I was going to miss class or something and he said, "Well, one of the things that you might consider doing, you know to do something, would be to give some blood or something like that you know give back or help or whatever." So, but he was okay with, you know.

LW: Missing class.

RC: Leaving for a while.

LW: And so something else you that mentioned earlier in the interview that I've heard that the Neo-Black Society was a part of was the cafeteria strike. So I didn't know were there any details that you remembered about that event?


RC: I just remember standing and I think there is a picture in the yearbook or something. There was this--standing out, holding signs in protest of the unfair wages. Because of course, and I, as part of work study, I worked in the cafeteria. And during my sophomore year, I didn't do any work my freshman year. Sophomore year I got a job in the cafeteria and then junior and senior year I worked as a receptionist like in the dorms. But, remember, standing out holding signs in protest of unfair wages, work conditions, and things such as that.


LW: So what was it like to work in the cafeteria? What were some of the responsibilities you had?

RC: Mainly, there was no cooking or anything like that [laughter]. Mainly serving and you know getting the trays, the food out on the line, and things like that.

LW: So--.

RC: And it was, you know, even the cafeteria was different then than now because, I mean, you had a meal and [laughter] you had, you didn't have like, you choose--kind of like going to K&W. I mean you just picked what sides and a meat and whatever that you want but you're not choosing to get Chick-fil-A or, you know, anything like that [coughing].

LW: So, I've heard several interesting stories about the dining hall. Is there anything that you remember about eating there?

RC: I loved the dining hall. I loved the dining hall.

LW: Could you tell me a little bit about the dining hall?

RC: Because for me, I mean, if I remember correctly, you could come in from 53:00these different sides or whatever into the dining hall and it was just a social place as well because there were certain hours that you could go and so, you know, breakfast is at a certain time, lunch was at a certain time, dinner was at a certain time. You know we'd be in the dorm like, "Oh, we'd better get on to the cafeteria," you know. And we go in there and each-- you had a meal that you knew--when you got there you knew what they were going to have that day. You had a choice of that but you didn't just go around to all these different stations or whatever. Because even my daughter she went to music camp up there a couple of times and by the time she got there, it was totally different from what I had experienced in terms of dining. But the food was good. And my freshman year, I gained ten pounds [laughter] and so it's like, okay this is good. So, you know, 54:00I had good experiences as far as the dining hall and when it was open, it was a plus.

LW: [Laughter] It was a plus.

RC: You could get a decent meal.

LW: [Laughter] Alright, so I'm just going through my list. We've thoroughly covered a lot of things already. Yes, I know you mentioned the freshman mixer. When you came to UNCG, it had just became co-educational. Were there other, other than the freshman mixer, were there other elements or traditions on campus that really still kept it feeling like it was a woman's college or could you really see a lot of shifting towards being a co-educational institution?

RC: I didn't see a whole lot of shift. I mean, my recollection it was still mostly--I mean, the thinking I guess from the administrative point of view was it 55:00was co-educational and it really was but you weren't seeing a lot of men [laughter]. You were not seeing a lot of men. You know, and on the weekends it kind of died in a sense. You might see more men in terms of guys from other colleges coming over but it seemed like more the females were leaving to go to wherever they were.

LW: Okay.

RC: Yes.

LW: Okay, so it seemed like--.

RC: They were going to State. They were going to Chapel Hill. They were going wherever. Even though there were--there was what Greensboro College [Greensboro, North Carolina] and all that there, there wasn't--didn't seem to be, from my perspective, a whole lot of interaction with those men to UNCG. Maybe there was but--.


LW: Okay. Okay, well I know, I kind of already overstayed my hour [laughter].

RC: Okay.

LW: And so, but to, I guess to finish off the interview, you've already mentioned, you know after UNCG you did teach and then do school psychology. Work with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Were there anything else that you would like to share that you did after UNCG that UNCG may have prepared you for or--?

RC: Well, like I said, definitely prepared me for teaching.

LW: Okay.

RC: My courses and everything prepared me quite well for that and you know I think the experience of going to a predominately white institution prepared me for working in Charlotte-Meck. I mean, because, you know, I had the experience 57:00of working with some of the--you know, everybody and interacting with them, not only academically but socially or whatever. So, when I came to Charlotte-Meck, I really was--everything was fine but--so, I will say I have positive memories of UNCG. I think it was a great school. I still think Greensboro is a great city [laughter]. I have a--my youngest brother lives up there, he and his family and all but I think it prepared me well.

LW: Well alright.

RC: So I encourage anybody, you know, to go there. You know I'm always excited when I hear of girls in the church, say "Oh, she's going to UNCG. She's going to UNCG." I'm like "Alright, yay, good." [Laughter].


LW: Awesome. Well I don't have any formal questions. Is there anything else you would like to add to the interview?

RC: No, no.

LW: Well, alright. Mrs. Covington, thank you so very much. I enjoyed talking with you today.

RC: I enjoyed talking with you also.

LW: [Laughter] Thank you. Alright, so we're going to end the recording.