Mable Latimer oral history interview, 2005 April 18
Mable Latimer reflects on her experiences at West Charlotte High School, both as a student during the late 1940s and early 1950s, and after coming back to the school as a volunteer in the 2000s. Education was segregated at the time in North Carolina, and only black students attended West Charlotte until 1970. Ms. Latimer believes that when she attended West Charlotte the teachers were highly experienced and the parents were deeply involved in the education of their students. She describes the West Charlotte of the 2000s as having less experienced teachers and less involved parents of students. Ms. Latimer discusses her thoughts on various problems within the Charlotte Mecklenburg school system and proposes what she sees as several possible solutions, including hiring more qualified educators with experience in mentoring at-risk, low income students and encouraging abstinence education. Ms. Latimer also reflects on the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision on school desegregation, which happened while she was attending college, and the integration of Charlotte's schools. Ms. Latimer closes the interview with some words of advice and encouragement to low income and high risk students.