Perceptions of the leadership strategies and sustaining characteristics associated with an all-black school: The study of Booker T. Washington High School, Reidsville, North Carolina, 1955--1969

L. Denise White, Fayetteville State University

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate the perceived elements of leadership strategies and other sustaining characteristics that were a part of some all-black high school students' lives that allowed them to complete their high school requirements and to be prepared for college and/or life in general. Common themes among educators were sought in order to discern those attributes, dispositions, knowledge, and skills which motivated these individuals to achieve, persist, and graduate. It is also hoped that this study will provide useful insights that will function as a catalyst for change, which will serve to improve the educational experience for high school students today. ^ This research was designed, by way of oral testimonies, document analysis, and artifacts, to understand perceptions, views, memories, and histories of administrators and faculty of Booker T. Washington High School, a formerly all-black high school, in Reidsville, North Carolina. Open-ended interviews with ten former teachers who taught at this all-black school from 1955-1969 were conducted. From the former teachers' perspective, this institution was remembered as being propelled by an interdependence of the school, a strong leader (principal), a caring, committed faculty, the students, and the community. ^ Analysis of the research data revealed the former teachers' perceptions and memories about their beliefs, attitudes, expectations and common experiences regarding the leadership strategies and sustaining characteristics of the school's students, faculty and administrators. The research was designed to identify common ideas and themes through the interviewees' recollections. Major themes that emerged included descriptions of the school's leader such as authoritative, diplomatic, strict disciplinarian, pragmatic, old fashioned and totally involved. Other data revealed whom the former teachers remembered (administrators, faculty, students, community) as influencing those beliefs and common experiences. Common themes emerged such as teaching the whole child, mutual respect and cooperation. ^ From the analyzed data, patterns and themes emerged that may prove beneficial for those teaching and guiding students who are in highly segregated school systems, and/or other current problems facing today's educational leaders. As shown in this research, educators in this all black high school understood the vital need for all students to identify with, participate in, and feel valued by their school. ^

Subject Area

History, Black|Education, Administration|Education, History of

Recommended Citation

L. Denise White, "Perceptions of the leadership strategies and sustaining characteristics associated with an all-black school: The study of Booker T. Washington High School, Reidsville, North Carolina, 1955--1969" (January 1, 2003). ETD Collection for Fayetteville State University. Paper AAI3345784.
http://digitalcommons.uncfsu.edu/dissertations/AAI3345784

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