Chris Folk oral history interview 1, 1997 October 16
In this 1997 interview, Dr. Chris Folk, former associate superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, recounts the school system's history of desegregation in light of the filing of Capacchione v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools earlier that year. Dr. Folk explains that his first experience with school desegregation was as a teacher in 1957 when Gus Roberts became the first African American student at Central High School. He then explains how the consolidation of the Charlotte City Schools and the Mecklenburg County Schools into one school system in 1960 would play a critical role in the future success of desegregation in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS). Dr. Folk then recounts the history of Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, explaining that school busing was crucial to the success of any desegregation plan because of the levels of residential segregation in the county. He also discusses the resistance and anger over busing, and how it was used by some people to hide their resistance to desegregation. Dr. Folk discusses how the school system changed its approach to pupil assignment and desegregation in 1992 with the addition of magnet schools, midpoint schools, and the growing enrollment of Asian American and Hispanic students. He also goes through the four goals guiding the school system's approach to pupil assignment and discusses some of the ways the school system has sought community feedback through task forces and advisory councils. The interview ends with Dr. Folk explaining that Charlotte's school desegregation problem is fundamentally a housing problem.