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Roslyn A. Mickelson papers

Identifier: MS0378

Scope and Contents

The Roslyn Mickelson Papers concern five subjects: The Charlotte Mecklenburg School system (CMS), a court case filed against the Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education (CMBE) by William Capacchione (alleging racial discrimination); a plan by International Business Machines (IBM) to establish an “education village” in the University Research Park, Charlotte, North Carolina; Dr. Mickelson’s research on the transition that students make from school to work; and papers concerning a national educational summit in Palisades, New York in 1996. Of all of these series, it is the one involving the William Capacchione court case that occupies the greatest amount of volume in this collection. In 1997, William Capacchione filed suit against the Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education, alleging racial discrimination against his daughter, Cristina Capacchione, when the CMS denied her application to a predominantly African-American magnet school. The defense that the CMBE used was its claim that Capacchione was denied enrollment at the magnet school as a result of established enrollment guidelines—not racial considerations. In its defense CMS hired the services of a variety of experts, including Dr. Mickelson. Mickelson analyzed large quantities of enrollment and demographic data (material found in this collection) during the composition of her report and to assist in her testimony. The case was appealed through the court system, and ultimately the CMBE lost the case and busing was overturned in the school system. The next most significant series in this collection is the one concerning the transition of students from school to work. This is an area in which Dr. Mickelson has spent a considerable amount of time and attention, having written a number of academic articles on the subject and delivered oral presentations. This subject deals with the effectiveness of educational curriculum and seeks to determine whether or not schools are teaching students what they need to know in the workplace.


  • Creation: 1959 - 2005


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Roslyn Arlin Mickelson was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on April 3, 1948, but grew up in Los Angeles, California and eventually became a naturalized citizen. Mickelson remained in Los Angeles and earned a PhD at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1984. She moved to Charlotte in 1985, where she taught sociology, women’s studies, and information technology. Her interests included the political economy of schooling and school reform, particularly the relationships among race, ethnicity, gender, the educational processes outcomes, and also the transitioning of students from school to workplace. Dr. Mickelson has been a Visiting Professor of Education and Sociology at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (1994) and a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University School of Education (1998-1999). In 1997, when William Capacchione’s daughter was denied enrollment in a magnet school in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Capacchiones filed suit against the Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education (CMBE), alleging racial discrimination. The CMBE hired a number of expert witnesses to substantiate its claim that Cristina Capacchione had been denied enrollment as the result of established enrollment guidelines, rather than race. Dr. Mickelson served as one of those expert witnesses. The case was appealed through the court system, up to the US Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case (thereby upholding the US Appeal Court’s ruling). In the end, the CMBE lost the case and busing was overturned in the school system. Dr. Mickelson married Dr. Stephen Samuel Smith, a professor of political science at Winthrop University, in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and had two children—Virginia (born in 1976) and David (born in 1978).


6 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This manuscript collection was accumulated by Dr. A. Roslyn Mickelson, a professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, in her role as an expert witness in litigation between the Charlotte Mecklenburg School system and the parents of Cristina Capacchione. Other papers include those concerning IBM Education Village and Mickelson's research in school-to-work transition.


The Roslyn Mickelson Papers are arranged into four series, which are subdivided into subseries. Series I contains papers concerning Dr. Mickelson’s work with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (and especially her work as an expert witness on behalf of the CMS in litigation with William Capacchione); series II: the IBM Education Village; series III: School-to-Work; and series IV: the National Educational Summit In Palisades, New York, in 1996.

Missing Title

  1. Capacchione, William -- trials, litigation, etc.
  2. Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education.
  3. Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.
  4. IBM Education Village.
  5. Magnet schools—North Carolina—Mecklenburg.
  6. Mickelson, Roslyn Arlin, 1948- .
  7. School integration—North Carolina—Mecklenburg County.
  8. School-to-work transition – research.
  9. School-to-work transition – United States.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired from Dr. Roslyn Arlin Mickelson, in 2007.

Physical Description

6 linear feet

Processing Information

Processed by Robert A. McInnes, September 2007.

Roslyn A. Mickelson papers
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Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

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