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Title:
Interview with Heyward C. Bellamy, April 13 , 2005
Date:
April 13 , 2005
Description:
This 2nd oral history with Dr. Bellamy covers his eudcational career which was interrupted by WWII. He joined the Air Corps to study Meterology and proceeded to train as a bombadier/navagator of A-26 aircraft. His seriousness in education presented opportunity as instructor and he never conducted any combat missions. After discharge he returned to Wilmington, entered UNC (BA, MA and PhD) and taught chemistry at NHHS. He became vice principal and began an administrative track.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee: Bellamy, Heyward C. Interviewer: Mims, LuAnn / Parnell, Gerry Date of Interview: 4/13/2005 Series: SENC Notables Length 60 minutes

Mims: Today is April 13th, 2005. I am LuAnn Mims with Gerry Parnell for the Randall Library Special Collections, and we are continuing our series on Wilmington Notables by speaking with Dr. Bellamy. This is our second interview with Dr. Bellamy, and we would like to pick up with his high school education. You attended New Hanover High School here in Wilmington.

Heyward Bellamy: Yes. And I probably mentioned last time that we had just passed a supplement to the school tax that allowed New Hanover County to add the twelfth year. I was the sec...in the second class to attend the twelfth year. Before that we had had grades one through seven in the elementary schools, and we called it grades nine through twelve at the high school level. But this supplement passed in 1936, allowed us to add the...the other year, the eighth year, supplement the pay of teachers, begin the accreditation of the schools by the Southern Association, and provide lots of needed things for public education. I also mentioned earlier, that New Hanover County had been the first unit in the state to consolidate the city/county units and this started a trend which is almost complete. I think there are still a few city units in existence, but not very many. The consolidation process is pretty well become the norm in North Carolina. At the high school, I...as I've also mentioned, had excellent teachers. Ah...took everything I could take, which was...turned out to be a real advantage for me because by late 1942 the Air Force was recruiting people to go into a meteorology program. They had to staff this because we had been spread so thin with the various fronts that we didn't have enough weathermen. So I talked to Mr. Hamilton about it and I said I really would like to graduate.

Mims: This is T. T. Hamilton?

Heyward Bellamy: T. T., the principal.

Mims: That...that went on...

Heyward Bellamy: T squared...

Mims: The...the...

Heyward Bellamy: ...they called him when he wasn't around.

Mims: ...that...he was the first president of Wilmington College?

Heyward Bellamy: Yes.

Mims: Okay.

Heyward Bellamy: Yes. Wonderful man. Great...great school man. And he told me that I already had enough units to graduate. I said, "well, that's fine, give me the paper". And what the Air Force arranged for me to do is go to the draft board, I guess I went through the regular draft process, and was sent to Fort Bragg in February of 43. And after a very short stay, when I got all the usual clothes that don't fit, I was put on a train to Miami Beach for basic training. And...several weeks there...and I thought if this was war, I wonder what peace looked like. We did our PE down on the beach among the palm trees and for that short stay it was a delightful stay in the Army. But very quickly I was shipped to Iowa City where the program had been established for meteorology. And commenced the program of studies there. Found out that we should have had, at least for that purpose, a lot more math in the background, which over the years we tried to do in the schools. But I stuck it out and...let me come home a couple of times from Iowa, once in the summer and once at Christmas...and when we got back from the second furlough, soon thereafter, a general came by and said we're...we're closing the meteorology programs because we've got the African front under control and don't need as many meteorologists. But what we really need is air crew. So all of us who could pass the...the air exam...the 6-4 flight exam, health exam, tried to get into some flying status. I applied for that and they very shortly shipped all of us out to various places. I wound up in San Antonio in the aviation cadet center and completed the pre flight program. And then some of those who had gone with me were shipped directly to navigation school or bombardier school, or pilot training, but they shipped me to gunnery school at Harlingen, Texas where I...I completed that program. And then to bombardier school in Childress, Texas. And once that was complete I thought surely I would have an assignment. But from Childress they said this group that I was put with, will be sent to Hondo navigation school because we want you to have the navigation program in addition to the navigation you've had in bombardier school because you'll be assigned to the new attack bombers, the A-26...carried only three people and the...the type...the 26 that I'd trained on. And the bombardier-navigator...hyphen...had to do about everything but sweep the plane. There were just three of us to do it all.

Mims: So that would have been the pilot, the co-pilot...

Heyward Bellamy: Pilot, radio-gunner, and the bombardier-navigator.

Mims: Okay.

Heyward Bellamy: And...but...so I completed Hondo and then thought I'd go to...to Lincoln, Nebraska, which is...was a usual outlet from that training command for assignment, but they sent me to Carlsbad to instructor school and before I could get out of Carlsbad I was teaching Chinese navigators. So...they had assigned some of the Chinese air force to the...I...said to someone in later years when I decided teaching was going to be my career that I felt that if I could take three Chinese students, none of whom could speak English, into the air and teach them to find their way around the southwestern United States and back to Carlsbad that I could teach anything. And it was a...it was a very interesting assignment.

Mims: Well how did you...how did you come by that assignment? Why did you not go the typical route with Nebraska?

Heyward Bellamy: I don't know. I've never known. I...you know, all of us wanted to...to be assigned, or we wouldn't have asked to be assigned to be trained as a bombardier off all things. But the assignments would come up and mine was not the reason why, they just say "this is where you're going to go". I was looking over the orders recently and there they are, the old mimeographed orders...the following named officers are assigned to Hondo or Carlsbad. But finally out of Carlsbad I was sent to Lincoln, Nebraska. And incidentally, before all this happened, on a training flight with students, on the last leg one morning, we were flying into El Paso and it was my turn to rest on the...the plane. So I took a nap. I could sleep under any flight conditions. And when we landed everybody jumped out of the plan and said "did...what in the world was that in New Mexico? The whole world blew up over there!" And of course it was the testing of the atomic bomb that we...they has witnessed from the plane. I said "I didn't see it, I was asleep". And we were thrown off...off base, the Army was very clever. The next few days, an old gentleman, an old colonel, showed up at the air base and said "I wonder if you young fellows would help me triangulate where a meteor landed in...in New Mexico on this date". "Oh sure!" So we could...and he said "thank you very much, maybe we can locate it". And that threw us completely off. And it was really some years later that I looked back at the old logs and my orders, and said that had to be the...the bomb test that those folks on the plane saw. And we when we got ready to leave El Paso, I remember the first PA, faded white, across the runway. And somebody turning around to me and saying "Heyward, that thing didn't have a propeller". And I made some remark about the...the look at the future with the jet plane. We found out later that the Germans had developed the jet fighter and had several versions in the air, and that the Japanese were working on them, so we weren't a minute too soon with the...the jet engine. Ah...but on to Lincoln, Nebraska. Went through all the preliminaries for assignment to a replacement unit. Got my new parachute, my new sextant, new goggles, everything, and ready to go. And they had us sleeping in tarpaper shacks, cause you know we had to throw up a lot of stuff in a hurry in the war. We...we really had to get ready in a hurry. I was awakened one morning by the paper, the Lincoln paper would send papers to the...the base for nothing, and the paperboy threw that paper, and it landed where I could reach down and pick it up. And there was the news, we'd bombed Hiroshima. And I can remember yelling down the way and saying "you all might as well turn those parachutes in, I don't think we're going anywhere". They said "what are you talking about?" And I said, "get the paper". Well we...of course you know what happened, the war very quickly ended. But we were still assigned to the...the destinations we had been planned for. My 8-26 training was at Florence, South Carolina and after some sessions with the Air Force people about what I wanted to do with my life, I said "I do not want to stay in the service". So I've...I'll stay as long as you want me but then I would like to go home and go to school. And one morning they called me in the office and said "are you serious about wanting to get out of the service?" I said, "well after you're through with me. I know I've got to have a...an assignment first". And they said "no, we've got an opportunity that will allow you to...to get out now if you want to. How soon can you clear the field?" I said, "well how soon can you get me a jeep?" And in just a little while I had everything turned in and had a bus ticket to Seymour Johnson field in Goldsboro, and went up, and after several days of processing, some mustering out pay, and getting my ruptured duck to pin on my uniform. That's what we call the little...little discharge pin...I was on a bus again headed for Wilmington. And I spent several days here trying to catch my breath and get some clothes, which was still hard to do. I remember buying a...a suit made of covert. And the covert, C O V E R T that they had during the war was a pretty miserable looking thing and I...I...it was a big come down from a...an Air Force officer's uniform to a gray covert suit. I'll never forget that suit as long as I live. It was about all that...that was available at the moment down at I. Schrier's on the corner of Front and Princess...and...that I could afford, of course.

Mims: Well, let me back up for just a minute here. Do you think that your experience getting out of high school and going straight into the military like you did, is that a typical path for...for students that were affected by like the bombing of Pearl Harbor while you were in high school?

Heyward Bellamy: Yes.

Mims: Because it doesn't seem like that would be a typical track now that you have followed had the war not interrupted your...

Heyward Bellamy: Yes...

Mims: ...education.

Heyward Bellamy: ...and a number of us left early. Ah...and of course after graduation a lot of them left. Nick Fokakis, who is in our class, ah, Mary and I were in the same class...still has the orders to Fort Bragg that lists the people in our class who went with him. There were a bunch of the boys who were drafted at the same time. Ah, pretty typical, and of course you...you were at the mercy of the service as far as assignment. They tried to put you where they...they needed you. On the inside looking out as a service man, we...we thought that if you were a brain surgeon there was a pretty good chance you would be assigned to cooks and bakers school, but you know, handling that many people, that fast, ah, it's amazing how well the country managed to fight that war, and get in production, and produce enough for us to...to have. I...I can remember standing guard duty with a wooden rifle. You...you can imagine the...the razing a GI took from the rest of them when he walked around with a wooden rifle on guard duty, but that's...that's how scarce things were for...for a while. I never did fire the standard Garand M1 infantry rifle. I drilled with the...the old English Enfield, one of which I have in the...in the room there, and took to the celebration on February 26th for people to see. One person that I can recall knew what it was. He was a little boy in kindergarten from Sunset School and he was a history bug and he came to the table and told Mary, "that's an Enfield". But...

Mims: Was there a recruiter at the high school? How did you find out about this meteorology program?

Heyward Bellamy: Oh, oh, letters sent to the principal. They recruited through principals and...and through college deans for people with good academic record who might be able to...to take the pace of the meteorologist school.

Mary Bellamy: Is it possible I could get you all some orange juice, cranberry juice, water?

Mims: I'm good.

Mary Bellamy: Heyward, do you need...?

Heyward Bellamy: No, I've got some water, thanks.

Mims: So you...

Heyward Bellamy: Yea, she would...said she would like some.

Mims: No, I'm fine.

Heyward Bellamy: Oh, okay.

Mims: Um, so you were right back in Wilmington and you bought yourself a suit.

Heyward Bellamy: Yea.

Mims: Now, what's the purpose of buying a suit, so you could present yourself?

Heyward Bellamy: I wanted to become mister civilian again.

Mims: Okay.

Heyward Bellamy: But I wound up over the next few years wearing out my uniforms because they were acceptable civilian clothing without the insignia and ah, they were very good material. So...

Mims: What was your rank when you left?

Heyward Bellamy: Second lieutenant. I was later to transfer that commission in the reserve, to the Coast Guard reserve, cause the Air Force at that time, didn't have a unit around that I could get to and the Coast Guard did, so I...I transferred to the...the Coast Guard reserve and kept the commission and spent some very interesting summers with the Coast Guard. Worked once with the captain of the port in Baltimore, attended the international naval review at Hampton Roads, and helped an axillary Coast Guard officer who owned a big yacht patrol and as a safety measure, and saw all the ships from all over the world, did duty on a buoy tender, the Mistletoe, up and down Chesapeake Bay. Ah, it was a very interesting time in the Coast Guard. Went to fire school twice and attended the Coast Guard Academy one summer. And so, Coast Guard's a wonderful outfit. Found out they had almost as many people in the Coast Guard as New York City had on the police force. And oh the many things the Coast Guard had to do was amazing...they could get it all done, but...

Mims: So, what...what happened to you next? How did you, um...did you start looking for a job, or you were tracking definitely to go to school?

Heyward Bellamy: No, I started thinking about going to school. I had talked about which college and knew I had the GI Bill. If my father had stayed well we were gonna save the GI Bill for med school, but he soon became very ill with a bad heart and we lost him in forty...1947. A month and ten days after Mary and I were married right here...

Mary Bellamy: Yea, we were married...

Heyward Bellamy: Right there!

Mary Bellamy: We cleared stuff...

Heyward Bellamy: We...

Mims: So when you came back, did you um, did you...did you marry her then, or...?

Heyward Bellamy: Did what?

Mims: When you came back, did you um, did you start dating her, or...?

Heyward Bellamy: Well, I'd been bothering her all during the war with letters and Christmas presents, and all that.

Mims: Uh huh.

Heyward Bellamy: And, yea, and uh, went to see her when I got out, and...but also talked to her mother a lot who had been, or was at that time a first grade teacher at William Hooper School, and we talked about colleges and of course she was very, very strong on North Carolina, and having gone there herself, and having known a number of the teacher who were still teaching there. So I said "well, I'm going up there and check out the university". And this is all happening very fast now after coming home from Seymour Johnson. So I went to Chapel Hill on the bus, spent the night in the Carolina Inn. As I recall, it cost me three dollars. I tell those girls that every time I go there. So they...they gather a crowd, cause they think I'm some kind of oddity. And...but I went over the next day to see what the prospects were for...for the next term. And they said "boy are you in luck, we're getting ready to start a short quarter for veterans".

Mims: Hum.

Heyward Bellamy: "When?" I think it was the next week. So I rushed home and got packed and went back to Carolina and they entered me as a special student because I had all these strange credits that flowed in from the Air Force, and they said "we'll...we'll put you in as a special student and get the science fill in you need for med school". Which they did. I was admitted to med school, but in the meantime lost my father.

Mims: Um.

Heyward Bellamy: But we were going to try it anyway and Mary began teaching in the summer of 47 in the university center and at New Hanover High School.

Mary Bellamy: Yep.

Heyward Bellamy: And, so I entered med school in 48 and soon found I couldn't do it, it was too much to be done here in dealing with my father's business and the family and so on. So I dropped out twice. Dr. Berryhill, the dean, saved me a seat the first year, but I found I couldn't do that either, cause I had too much to attend to at home. So I soon decided that I was going to go into teaching cause I felt that I could get back with the credits I had and complete a degree in a hurry. Which I did off and on. I was sort of a professional drop out at Carolina. I'd go a quarter and come home and work here a quarter, and go back when I could and finally got a...a bachelor's degree. I guess that was 48, and finished the master's in 1951. In the meantime, began teaching at New Hanover High School in 1950, and stayed there four years teaching chemistry and biology, and general science. And I became the education association county president in 53/54 school year, and that's the year we tried to get an increase to the supplement. We were losing teachers and...and not recruiting them, and...and getting people into teaching, so we thought a pay increase would help. So I worked on that in addition to teaching for that full year with a wonderful committee and the total help of the superintendent and the school board. And we had mailed a sheet, I ran across one of them in these same things, to every registered voter, to try to get people to support that increase in the supplement. And we were going to vote the week after the Brown one decision was handed down by the supreme court and this was one of my early experiences of people fearing the unknown. They voted against it, cause they didn't know what they were voting for. And we got, oh, something like eight to five, I think. It was defeated.

Mary Bellamy: Tell 'em what Brown one was.

Heyward Bellamy: What?

Mary Bellamy: Tell 'em what was in Brown one.

Heyward Bellamy: Oh, the desegregation that...

Mims: Right, Brown vs. the board?

Heyward Bellamy: Yea, separate schools are...are not legal. And, people didn't know what...what that meant, you know. What...how do you deal with it? Does this mean you redistrict everything? Does this mean a percentage of students of different races in each school? What does it mean? North Carolina, and in the county units, we...we were sort of held by what the state did. Because essentially North Carolina schools are funded by state money and governed by state law. And the state at first did nothing. So things rocked along for about, oh a little over two years, I guess, before the...the general assembly devised a pupil assignment plan, called the Pearsall plan. Which did, in fact recognize the right of a child to attend a previously all white or all black school. Because before that, we had been very much segregated. Two separate systems, separate teachers meetings, separate principals meetings, everything. So the...the pupil assignment plan said that parents could apply for assignment to a given school and take that application before the Board of Education. And that didn't result in a lot of desegregation. Our first black student in a previously all white school here was in 1962 when a young fellow named Aaron McRae, his parents...he was a minister here in town, applied for admission to Chestnut Street School, it was then, it's now Annie Snipes School. And he was assigned. And things were fine. Aaron got along fine. The first time I went over to the school after the assignment, Aaron was already in a school play and apparently having a good year. But that was it, you know. What...what does Brown One mean? The second year they had helped a little bit by saying that the supreme court means that you will do this will all deliberate speed. And North Carolina then said "all right, what...what's all deliberate speed? Does that mean you start with grade one, or...or do you take all twelve grades, or what?" It began to be a...an issue with the local units in the 60s with the advent of federal aid to education in the form of Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and National Defense Education Act...money, which was considerable. And of course we'd already gotten some vocational help through federal funds. But the upshot of that was that Health, Education, and Welfare became involved in the desegregation process and they would...began to evaluate systems to see if in their opinion they were meeting the were desegregating the schools. We had the HEW team come here in the...the, um, closer to mid 60s and draw some lines. They were pretty terribly drawn. They didn't know enough about the county to...to do it. But they got their maps out and drew district lines for everything and actually presented them at a meeting. I remember one of the lines ran down Burnt Mill Creek for years (laughing). The districts didn't make a lot...a lot of sense. The team was not, in my opinion, well suited for the job. Also a court case was brought. Eaton et al vs. Board of Education. Thirty five black parents had...had sued in about 196...stand to be corrected on the date...around 63, to have the children assigned to previously all white schools. And that suit was withdrawn before a federal judge but the Eaton vs. Board of Education became kind of the...the landmark case that the New Hanover County Schools followed...as we went to federal court. And in the meantime also trying to work with Health, Education, and Welfare teams. Two different groups trying to tell you how to desegregate. Ah...

Mims: One...one of the things that I had read about this is that the people assignment with the parents making the...the application, is that that was sort of misused, that they were trying to make application for what would be high school age students into elementary schools. Like I saw high school...and then they would be denied...and it wasn't because of a race, it was because of an age inappropriate. Did you see a lot of that, where...?

Heyward Bellamy: No. No, what we did in New Hanover, they...we tried to give the assignment.

Mims: Right.

Heyward Bellamy: The freedom of choice. And we sent...it looked like a land deed...to every home in the county and we listed all the schools where they are, the grades taught, and a parent and student could pick the school of their choice. And it amounted to some desegregation but not very many people chose to...to take that route. But the only time you could deny somebody entry to that school, say Winter Park School had six grades and the school was filled. You...you had accepted all the applications you could, after you'd drawn a ring around it for a district, they you...you'd stop the applications and take the second choice. Ah...pretty cumbersome...

Mims: Um hum.

Heyward Bellamy: ...kind of thing as you can imagine. It didn't...it didn't work to put it...to put it bluntly. It...it was a try and it was something the court would allow you to begin the year. You...you, ah...you had to satisfy the federal court that what was being done did offer some hope of desegregating the schools. And the court in the meantime tried to clarify what they meant by desegregation further by saying that when you walk in a school, we mean that you can go up and down the hall and look in the classrooms and not see a black school or a white school, but just a school. Which...which helped a...a little bit. It began to sort of say that you needed to do something about percentages in each school. After the freedom of choice, some district lines were drawn, which again increased desegregation a little, but not much. You see, in a city/county unit of this sort, the majority of the black children lived in a big football shaped area in the inner city.

Mims: Um hum.

Heyward Bellamy: And all that we had...the older buildings in the city as the county had grown, the smaller elementary schools were being built out in the suburbs, like Pine Valley, Blair, Ogden, had Wrightsboro of course on the periphery. And so you...by district lines it was gonna be pretty difficult to do it. If you district Carolina Beach you get only the children living in the Sea Breeze area which is just a handful of children. If you district Forest Hills you get only a handful of black children living toward Sixteenth and Seventeenth Street. So we had to do something else. When the supreme court acted on the Swan decision in Virginia they declared that busing was a legal means of bringing about the unitary school system. And this happened early in 1968 when New Hanover County was just beginning a building program. It's the building program that produced Blair and Pine Valley and some additions to other schools. Also, incidentally, I haven't mentioned the...the closing of Williston as a high school and opening it then as a junior high school. That happened in the summer of 68, oh about two weeks before I was sworn in as superintendent. And it did increase desegregation because that took all of your ten, eleven, and twelve students and assigned them to two high schools which ah, gave a...ah...an increase percentage wise. But it did not satisfy the courts definition of a unitary system in the lower grades. We worked very year with the federal court. I'd get our plan together and to go Clinton and judge Algernon Butler was our...our judge.

Mims: Well what I'd like to do is get us up to how you've become so involved with this. Um, you're teaching at New Hanover High School and you are also being president of the education association.

Heyward Bellamy: Um hum.

Mims: Was that a track to get you into a more political arena as the superintendent? I mean, was that your goal, or...?

Heyward Bellamy: You mean the education association?

Mims: Yea, how...

Heyward Bellamy: No. I...I intended to teach school the rest of my life. And I would have been just delighted if I could have stayed in that classroom. But these opportunities would come along. They'd asked me to go over and become Annie Snipes assistant principal...

Mims: Um hum.

Heyward Bellamy: ...at Chestnut Street School. And in went over and here's another supplement. Well, what are you going to do? You've got children and you want...you want to provide for your family. So I reluctantly made the move. I did manage to teach a couple of classes over there.

Mims: And Snipes was an elementary school?

Heyward Bellamy: What?

Mims: Snipes was elementary? Chestnut...

Heyward Bellamy: Ah it was a...it was what amounted to a union school. We had grades one through nine.

Mims: Hum.

Heyward Bellamy: We had the elementary and the junior high. This was before the kindergarten.

Mims: Um hum.

Heyward Bellamy: Ah...and I stayed there with Ms. Annie Snipes seven years. They'd try to move me and I'd say "uh uh, please...now I'm doing what I want to do. This is ah, this is better than college and learning about school work". So...because I had a chance to work with the elementary teachers and choose textbooks and the junior high teachers, and the...the problems that teenagers develop, I...I kept records on eighth graders. I suspicioned after about a year at Chestnut that something was happening about the eighth grade with teenagers. So I kept me a...a little card on them. And I...I could graft that thing and you could see the...the difficulty develop sort of like a galcion curve with the eight graders. I called it on the graft, fools hill. And I said if we can just love 'em and help 'em and get 'em over fools hill they'll...they'll be alright. And the...that...that seemed to be the peak. It doesn't come there for everybody but it does for a lot of children. So it was fun working with the...the students and I...I didn't want to leave that until I had to. But when the superintendent retired, Mr. Roland, they hired a man named Earl Funderburk from Elizabeth City to...to become the superintendent and he asked me to do supervision for the secondary schools. On supervisor...the whole county. So, I did it, and it was frustrating because there was so much you wanted to help people do, but you're one person and the twenty four hours would zip by and you'd feel sometimes that you hadn't earned your...your pay. But I worked with that and we did some...some things in the...particularly the junior high curriculum that the schools thought we ought to do to get the offerings more in line with the...the one through twelve program, it was then. Kindergarten did come till some time later. Uh...and Mr. Funderburk stayed one year and went to Fairfax Virginia and Dr. William Widener who had taken Earl's place at Elizabeth City was hired to come and be the superintendent. He stayed seven years. And I worked as Bill's director of instruction for secondary and finally his assistant superintendent for instruction. And that's the job I held when he went to the University as the, well, actually it was Wilmington College then, as the president. So they had to...to anoint Bill twice. They made him president of Wilmington College and turned around and the...our...our college became part of the greater university so we had to anoint him as Chancellor of the...of UNCW. And that's always been one of the interesting things in New Hanover County, we had tried during the years to get a college.

Mims: Um hum.

Heyward Bellamy: We tried to...to entice the Presbyterians to put the college...

Mims: Um hum.

Heyward Bellamy: ...went to Laurinburg. We failed in that. We tried to get the Methodists to put the...the...one of their colleges. They went to Rocky Mount and Fayetteville. But I remember old Dr. John T. Hoggard, who was, for years chairman of the school board, and was chairman and...and I think we called him president of Wilmington College at one time.

Mims: Um hum.

Heyward Bellamy: Ah, when all this was going on and people were...were sad because we'd lost the Presbyterian college, he said "don't be sad about that, our college is going to be part of the University of North Carolina and we've got what we're going to need here. Let's...let's support our college". It was a most prophetic thing. He...he could see the potential for that college, and...and really helped to push it and get good people there to run it. When Dr. William Randall was...was hired, I think that sort of cemented the...the piling in place for Wilmington College and later the university. We had incidentally voted a...a nickel tax in 1947 to support Wilmington College. And it was...then was kind of the outgrowth of what Mary had started teaching in, a university center, when she got out of school at East Carolina. And they took over the old Isaac Bear Elementary building there on Market Street and stayed there until moving to the new campus. And so...so I followed Bill Randall...Bill Widener as the superintendent.

Mims: How...how did you come by not being recruited for Wilmington College? Cause I know that the majority of their teaching staff in those early years came from New Hanover High School.

Heyward Bellamy: Ah, I did some fill in teaching at the university. The...the chemistry teacher left to go to Dupont one term so I...I taught some analytical chemistry for them. And they lost a math teacher one time and I filled in until they could get a math teacher for Adrian Hurst who was the department head. But I...I didn't set my sights on university teaching. I...I liked public school work and ah, stayed with it. And I...as I say, I would like to have stayed in the classroom had it, in those days been affordable, but I had a family and I wanted to...to give them the things they needed and try to see that they were educated, so I took the administrative spots. I didn't even, in graduate work, do the things that you normally do for an administrative post. I...I took the curriculum courses, teaching of reading, and of course kept my science background going in zoology and chemistry, right through the doctorate. So when they...they talked to me about becoming superintendent, I said "I don't even know that I can get a certificate". So I called the state department and the certification man, Arthur Taylor, who was...I had worked with, and he...he knew...knew me and knew pretty much what I'd been doing, and I said "they want me to be superintendent. I haven't even got a superintendent certificate". He said, "you have now", and they took it. Today you've got...

Parnell: When did you earn your PhD?

Heyward Bellamy: What?

Parnell: When did you earn your PhD?

Heyward Bellamy: In 65? Yea, 6...

Mary Bellamy: 66.

Heyward Bellamy: 66, I'm sorry.

Parnell: All...all through Chapel Hill?

Heyward Bellamy: Yea.

Mary Bellamy: Um hum.

Heyward Bellamy: Yep. And so Arthur mailed me a certificate and the board hired me to be the superintendent. And there was a lot I had to learn, I...

Mims: And you started that in 1968?

Heyward Bellamy: Uh huh.

Mary Bellamy: Yea, it...it was...it was 66 when you got the doctorate.

Heyward Bellamy: Yea, and 6...68 when...

Mims: When he became superintendent.

Heyward Bellamy: ...became superintendent.

Mims: Right.

Heyward Bellamy: Ah, I remember Jack Davis, who taught at New Hanover, coached at New Hanover, handled the teams, the work teams on the schools during the summer, came to see me and said "Heyward, I want to"...John Marshall, business manager was retiring, said "I want John's job". He said "I don't know anything about it, but I...I want it and I...I can learn and I know the schools and all of that". I said "well I don't either but we're...we're pretty smart fellows, we can learn together". So...so Jack became my business manager and a super business manager. He of course knew more than he admitted about running the...the business of the schools. And I had Dale Spencer who could've been superintendent many times, he had been the principal at New Hanover High School...

Mims: Um hum.

Heyward Bellamy: ...but he did not want to. He wanted to be the...the office man, and, which was much to my advantage. He was a math genius. He believed that everything should be in its place before the day ends. I could purposely walk in to talk to him in his office and leave a chair crooked on the floor, and I could watch from the hall before I'd get very far away and see the chair was straight. So Dale was a...a real asset and a good friend. And he carried a clipboard around with him. I'd go to present the budget to the county commissioners and Dale would have his clipboard and I'd have all my papers of course, and present the budget. And they'd ask me for a figure...how much have you got left in whatever...and Dale Spencer, I can see him now, "thirty two thousand, four hundred and ninety three dollars, and seventy three cents". And the commissioners asked me, "how does he do that?" (laughing) Just a real...real jewel. I was accused of...during the desegregation years, of falsifying attendance reports to the state in order to get more teachers. And I read this in the paper that this man House had said that this was going on and so I called the state department. I said "I want an audit of my accounting, student accounting. I...I've been accused of criminal activity"...is what it amount to. Said "okay, we'll send you auditors", which they did. And they stayed with Dale Spencer through about the next Thursday, and came down and said "well, we're ready to go, nothing wrong. Reports are just what they ought to be and we're going back to Raleigh". And so I didn't...didn't have to go to jail for what I was being accused of. This same man, and the retired superintendent, Mr. Roland, who...who was very, very much opposed to desegregation, wound up going to Washington and were actually granted an audience by the, I guess the judiciary committee, of one of the houses...senate I think. And I have the transcript of that meeting in the things that Carol is...is cataloging. It is very interesting, you should read it.

Mims: Well, I think that we're at a good stopping point for today. And um, so we're going to go ahead and wrap right now, and we'll talk about setting up time to...

Heyward Bellamy: Oh, okay.

Mims: ...to go into for...for next week. Cause I think this is a good spot, because before we get into the real meat of...of the desegregation issues in Wilmington.

Heyward Bellamy: Okay. Am I doing what you want?

Parnell: Oh yes!

Mims: Oh, exactly!

Heyward Bellamy: Okay.

Mims: It's fantastic! I mean, it's just um...it clarifies a lot. So we're...we're all "why..."

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