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Constance Oliphant, 2015 November 5

Identifier: CH-OL0019

Scope and Contents

Constance Oliphant, who moved to Druid Hills in Charlotte North Carolina with her family in the 1950s, describes her life and her experiences growing up in the neighborhood. Mrs. Oliphant reflects on the significance of her time spent as a swim instructor and lifeguard at Double Oaks Pool which was close to Druid Hills. The experience helped to establish her love of athletics and steered her to study physical education at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She notes the influence of her father, who taught at West Charlotte High School, and was also a football, basketball and tennis coach. Mrs. Oliphant reflects on the impact of the civil rights movement on her life as a student, and she describes her involvement in protest marches in downtown Greensboro in the 1960s. Having grown up in a very segregated culture, Mrs. Oliphant helped to integrate schools in Charlotte as one of the first black physical education teachers, and she also notes that her husband was one of the first black men to join the Secret Service. After moving away from Charlotte for some time, Mrs. Oliphant returned to Druid Hills and became one of the first teachers' assistants hired in in the city. Her last job in Charlotte brought her back to her love of swimming when she became director of aquatics, youth sports, and fitness at the YMCA. Mrs. Oliphant concludes the interview with her thoughts about interactions between police and black youth, and her concerns that contemporary young people do not understand consequences of their actions.


  • Creation: 2015 November 5


Conditions Governing Access

Original audiovisual materials are closed to patron use. Please contact Special Collections to request the creation of use copies for particular items; requests will be accommodated when possible. The remaining materials are open for research.

Biographical Note

Constance Oliphant was a 76-year-old woman at the time of interview, which took place in Druid Hills, Charlotte, North Carolina. She was born in New York in 1939. She was educated at West Charlotte High School and North Carolina A&T State University; and was employed as a physical education teacher at Double Oaks Elementary School and the YMCA in Charlotte, and as a teacher's assistant at Hidden Valley Elementary School.


22 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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