Skip to main content

Miriam Bates, 2006 November 18

Identifier: OH-BA0491

Scope and Contents

Miriam Bates recounts her life growing up in Charlotte, her college experience at Hampton University in Virginia, and her return to Charlotte in 1978. Mrs. Bates recalls growing up in the Biddleville neighborhood in Charlotte, where she lived through high school. Her father was the principal of Second Ward High School, but she attended rival West Charlotte High School in the 1940s (both schools were segregated at the time). Mrs. Bates describes her neighborhood growing up as close-knit and safe, but she resented that her school received hand-me-down textbooks and band uniforms from the local white schools. After college she moved to New Haven, Connecticut, worked as a teacher, and had children in public schools. She describes the inequality in integrated schools there during the early 1960s and compares it with her experience when she was a student in a segregated high school in Charlotte. Mrs. Bates then recollects her time at Hampton University in Virginia, which she enjoyed, and participation as a charter member in the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. She moved back to Charlotte when she was in her 50s, and talks about her membership in the First United Presbyterian Church in uptown Charlotte and charitable activities of her church. She also discusses urban renewal and its impact on the African American community in Charlotte. Mrs. Bates concludes her interview by comparing the segregation of her childhood and adolescence with the civil rights movement of the 1960s when her children were growing up. She expresses her belief that the old physical barriers between whites and blacks are gone but subtle barriers still exist, and that people can fight this subtle inequality through education.


  • Creation: 2006 November 18

Biographical / Historical

Miriam Bates was an 80-year-old woman at the time of interview. She was born in Prairie View, Texas, on October 25, 1926. She was educated at West Charlotte High School, Johnson C. Smith University, and Hampton University; and was employed as a teacher.


62 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

About this Site

Finding aids are guides to archival collections, including manuscripts, university records, and oral history collections. These guides help you find physical collections which can be viewed in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library. A small number of finding aids link to digital content online. Please contact us to learn more or to schedule an appointment:

Special Collections and University Archives
J. Murrey Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
(704) 687-1170
Schedule an Appointment