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C. Vanessa Baxter, 2004 December 21

Identifier: BB-BA0015

Scope and Contents

Vanessa Baxter describes her experiences as a student in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools from 1959 through the early 1970s, focusing in particular on the impact of integration. Ms. Baxter describes attending an all-black elementary school, then moving to an integrated junior high, Sedgefield Junior High School. She recalls how integration was a success at the school, and also within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Junior Symphony Orchestra, where she played the violin. Ms. Baxter attributes this success in part to the higher socioeconomic background of the students, and in part to successful leadership within the school. After junior high, she attended Harding High School, which she describes as a school with greater racial conflict. Ms. Baxter discusses significant problems, including violence, with integration at Harding High School, and talks about how the principal fueled racial conflict through uneven treatment of students. Ms. Baxter returned to Harding to deliver the commencement address ten years after she graduated, and she describes a significant improvement in race relations that had occurred by that time based on her experiences with the students during her visit.


  • Creation: 2004 December 21

Conditions Governing Access

16 of the 23 interviews that comprise the Era Before Brown v. Board of Education oral history project have been digitized and are available in the digital repository. Original audiovisual materials are closed to patron use.

Biographical Note

Vanessa Baxter was an 50-year-old woman at the time of interview, which took place at the Cherry Community Center office in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was born in Cabarrus County, North Carolina on April 30, 1954. She was educated at Harry P. Harding High School, Howard University, and Mississippi Valley State University; and was employed as a public relations consultant and a nonprofit executive.


86 Minutes

Language of Materials


Repository Details

Part of the Oral Histories, 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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