Digital North Carolina Blog

Digital North Carolina Blog

This blog is maintained by the staff of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center and features highlights from the collections at DigitalNC, an online library of primary sources from institutions across North Carolina.

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Issues of Northampton County Times-News Cover School Desegregation

Top portion of June 26 1969 issue of the Northampton Times-News showing photo of school construction

Front page of the June 26, 1969 issue of The Northampton Times-News.

Thanks to our partner, Northampton County Museum, issues spanning 1967 to 1969 of The Northampton County Times-News are now available on our website.

Published squarely in the middle of the desegregation of North Carolina schools, these issues detail county officials’ efforts at maintaining segregation through a policy entitled “Freedom of Choice.” Though this push back against desegregation mirrors the history of many other counties in the state, the Times-News has really detailed local reporting on the topic and doesn’t shy away from talking about race-related tensions.

In 1967, the U.S. Attorney General brought a lawsuit against Northampton County schools claiming the county failed to desegregate them as required. The lawsuit cited the continuing separation into all white and all Black schools, the latter of which were inferior in resources and infrastructure.  This front page from August 1, 1968 announces the resulting court order that mandated desegregation. With an enrollment of 74.5% Black and 25.5% white students, Northampton County Schools were required to assign students to schools based on geography. Faculty were also desegregated, and the local Black high school, Willis Hare, was closed. After the partial integration of the high schools, a plan for lower grades followed in June 1969 (above).

To view all issues issues of the Northampton County Times-News available on our website, please click here.

To view more newspapers from around North Carolina, please visit our North Carolina Newspapers Collection here.

To learn more about the Northampton County Museum, please visit their website.


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