On July 10th, 1950, Garfield Carr was born on farmland outside of Mooresville, North Carolina. His family then moved to the town of Davidson when he was four years old, where he has continued to live his whole life. When asked why he never left he emphasized the fact that his family is in Davidson and close by in Charlotte, so there has not been a reason for him to. When it comes to Davidson, Mr. Carr says it is “nice, quiet, fairly safe and where all my family and friends are, it’s home.” Even his kids who live in Charlotte like Davidson and he jokingly said they would be upset if he decided to move.
Mr. Carr experienced the historic town of Davidson through the majority of its changes, specifically from segregation to desegregation and beyond. He talked about the different segregated sides that the stores in downtown Davidson had. For example, clothing stores, gas stations and the Soda Shop had a side for whites and a side for blacks. The schools were also still segregated during Mr. Carr’s childhood. He went to elementary school at Ada Jenkins and by his freshman year of high school the schools were desegregated. In 1965 public schools were integrated, with North Mecklenburg having the first fully integrated class among the Charlotte-Mecklenburg county schools. Mr. Carr felt that among these changes in the South, other black students, including himself, had to prove themselves more. They were treated like second-class citizens and found themselves trying to build trust with the white students and faculty. There were even a couple of riots in the integrated schools, except for his school. Mr. Carr said the main reason why was because of his principle, he was white but he would always listen to the problems the students of color encountered.
Click on the video below to hear Mr. Carr talk about segregation in Davidson while he was growing up.
Bridging the gap
The county decided to merge with the African-American teachers from Mr. Carr’s middle school (Torrence Little) to his new High School. Overall the transition was smooth while integrating the African-American teachers into the predominantly white schools. However, Mr. Carr reflected on a time when he was falsely accused of cheating and was suspended for two days. One of his favorite teachers was Ms. Dackery because she understood the different pressures that the students of color were under and she invited students over to her house to help with homework.