UNC Charlotte Special Collections J. Murrey Atkins Library - Special Collections & University Archives

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Chris Folk papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS0446

Scope and Contents

This collection contains material generated by Chris Folk during his career in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System from 1955-1992. There are also reports and other documents related to the school system from 1992-2010 due to Folk's continued involvement with CMS. There are files on every superintendent from Elmer Garinger to Peter Gorman and profiles of every school in the system. There is material related to school desegregation and integration as well as items from the Capacchione Case of 1999 which ended busing for the purpose of racial balance. There are also copies of speeches, directories, videos and books related to many aspects of education and CMS. The collection contains a box of photographs of CMS schools, both former and current, and albums of the CMS Communications Staff.

Dates

  • 1970s-2000s

Creator

Language of Materials

English

Conditions Governing Use

The Chris Folk papers are the physical property of J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections. Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Chris Evans Folk was born on April 6, 1930 in Charlotte, North Carolina. After moving to Statesville in his youth, Chris returned to Charlotte to attend Central High School, where he graudated as valedictorian of his class in 1948. He then went on to study at Duke University where he received a BA degree in English and Education in 1952. Upon receipt of his Master of Education Degree in 1953 from the University of Texas, he began to serve as an English teacher, Counselor and Administrative Assistant to the Principal at Robert Driscoll Junior High School in Corpus Christi, Texas. He then went on to the US Army where he spent time in the Medical Field Service School. After returning home in 1955, Folk began his 37 year career with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System as a teacher of English and Journalism at his alma mater, Central High School. After taking a short leave of absence to earn his Doctor of Education from Columbia University, Folk returned to Charlotte and began his administrative career in the school system. Over a period of 16 years from 1960-1976, Folk served in the office of School-Community Relations, Principal of Windsor Park Elementary School, Assistant to the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent of Communications. In 1976 he was promoted to the position he would hold for the remainder of his career, Associate Superintendent of Communications. Folk faithfully filled this position from 1976 until his retirement in 1992.

Folk's time at CMS was filled with momentous change and great challenges for both the schools and the community. In 1960, his first year in the School-Community Relations office, Charlotte City Schools and Mecklenburg County Schools consolidated to form the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system. Then in 1965, African-Americans Vera and Darius Swann filed suit against CMS on behalf of their son James who was denied entrance to integrated Seversville Elementary and instead sent to the all-black Biddleville Elementary School despite the fact that Seversville was closer to his home. The case wound its way up to the Supreme Court who ruled in 1971 that CMS must use all means necessary, including busing, to achieve complete racial balance in its school district. During this tense period, Folk made sure the public had all of the information they needed about the upcoming changes and went to great lengths to answer all questions they had. He worked with the School Board to develop policies to implement desegregation, organized central office staff to provide assistance related to desegregation, provided workshops for school and office personnel for desegregation problems, set up a hotline to respond to parents' questions and concerns and worked with the school board attorney in responding to legal issues. Busing ultimately became a great success in CMS and the district was held up as a model of peaceful integration throughout the nation. After Folk's retirement in 1992, he continued to be involved with the school system, reading at Highland Renaissance Academy, answering parent e-mails and giving talks about the history of CMS. Folk played a major role in guiding the school system and the city through the second half of the twentieth century and left his mark on thousands of colleagues and students who passed through the doors of the system's many schools over the past fifty years.

Extent

31 Linear Feet

Overview

Professional and personal documents of Chris Folk, longtime Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools administrator and the district's spokesman from 1958 to 1992. Files include public relations materials, personnel directories, yearbooks, photographs, and printed materials related to public education in the Charlotte-mecklenburg region.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mitzi Folk, 2012.

Related Materials

Board of Education (Mss 2). Elmer Henry Garinger Papers (Mss 70). Charlotte City Board of Education (Mss 1). Julius L. Chambers (Mss 85). North Carolina School Desegregation (Mss 413).

Processing Information

The collection was processed in 2016 by Natalie Copeland and Andrew Pack.
Title
Chris Folk papers
Status
Completeexceptcataloging
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Contact:
Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte 28223 United Stated