Vernelle Jones was part of the last graduating class of Lincoln High School in 1966, and remembers when token integration opened the option for her and her classmates to attend Chapel Hill High School. Although some of her classmates opted to transfer, Ms. Jones was encouraged to stay at Lincoln by her mother, who worried about her safety at the all-white Chapel Hill High School. She also had a historical tie to Lincoln, which was built on land donated by her great-uncle. After graduating from North Carolina Central University, Ms. Jones worked for UNC Hospitals and later became one of the few Black employees at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. There, she opened doors for the generations to follow by breaking barriers as the first Black woman in multiple leadership positions. Ms. Jones credits her mother as a huge influence on her own community service, and has followed in her footsteps as the current president of the Social Interest Civic Group, an organization founded by her mother and twelve other Black women to raise scholarships for Black students pursuing higher education.
Ms. Vernelle Jones describes her experiences with Lincoln High School:
Ms. Jones discusses a favorite teacher at Lincoln:
Ms. Jones on the impact of desegregation:
Ms. Jones on her work with the Social Interest Civic Group:
Interviews conducted by Danita Mason-Hogans at Chapel Hill Public Library, 2019