Realizing that to change things for the better, everyone must do something, we, the staff of the W.C. Lion, would like to make a suggestion: COME TOGETHER. Where there is hate, why not put in a little love? Where there is war, peace; where there is misunderstanding, let us find tolerance. At first glance, that may seem simple enough, but it is really a tremendous task. It means giving of oneself, sharing with others, investigating the problems of our society . . . and finding workable solutions.
-West Charlotte Lion, 1971
At a time when race and inequality dominate national debates, the story of segregation, desegregation, and resegregation at West Charlotte High School illuminates the possibilities and challenges of using racial and economic desegregation to foster educational equality. Drawing on nearly two decades of interviews with students, parents, educators, and alumni, Color and Character uses the history of a community’s beloved school to tell a broader American story of education, community, democracy, and race – all while raising questions about present-day strategies for school reform.
Color, Character and Coming Together draws on my years of West Charlotte history research, and on my own experiences helping to reintegrate Shamrock Gardens Elementary, which my son (second from right) attended from 2006-2012. My Shamrock blog, Seen from the ‘Rock, describes some of our experiences there.
West Charlotte High’s eight decades of history are documented in multiple online resources, including yearbooks and dozens of oral history interviews. For those who’d like to learn more about the school, the links on this page will get you started.
My other work includes books, articles, and museum exhibitions on subjects that include women’s basketball history, North Carolina history, and American sports history.