Unknown and Unheard: A Peculiar Narrative on Southern Integration

Hi everybody! I’m so excited to be here! I’m Jamesha Gibson. I am a History major and a rising Junior. This summer I will be conducting Oral History interviews in the grand ol’ state of South Carolina. My research project is an exploration into southern school integration unlike any other.

This summer I am conducting research about my aunt’s experience as a black student in South Carolina’s pre-integrated and integrated school system. Between 1951 and 1960 South Carolina provided ample funding to black schools so that the students could have an educational experience that was equal to that of their white counterparts. However, according to the testimony from my aunt (who attended the black schools from 1961-1963), this was not the case. My aunt had a better educational experience as an integrated student. I will be researching the social, political, and especially economic reasons behind this experience.

I believe my research will expose details of American social history that is often neglected in the general historical narrative. It also gives insight to race relations and the voluntary practice of segregation in education in South Carolina.

This project is also important to me personally. It is an opportunity to explore and understand the circumstances that united and shattered the African-American community in South Carolina. This project also allows me to access the memories of  a living witness to monumental historic events. Although my aunt’s (and the other interviewees’) perspective is not the most famous and publicized, they are an expression of how the individual participants reacted to these events.

I am so fired up for this!