David Hunter oral history interview 1, 1996 October 2
Dr. David Hunter discusses his personal experiences with education and his lifelong work as an educator in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. He describes growing up in the African American neighborhood of Cherry, attending segregated schools, and graduating from Second Ward High School in 1951. Despite a scholarship from Kappa Alpha Psi, which enabled him to attend Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU), Dr. Hunter was not able to finance the chemistry degree he had hoped to pursue, since it required time in the lab that would have prevented him from working to finance his education. He describes how he took a teaching job at Carver College after graduation, with the understanding that he would work on a master's degree during the summers. This charted Dr. Hunter's life's work as a math professor and college administrator. He recounts attending Atlanta University in the summers to earn his master's degree and how his academic success led to a position as teaching fellow at Morehouse College. During these years Dr. Hunter was also involved in civil rights activities in Atlanta where he joined in sit-in protests and attended church services led by civil rights preachers William Holmes Borders and Ralph David Abernathy. He describes his professional return to Carver College and the transition of Carver (re-named Mecklenburg College) to the outskirts of Charlotte before it eventually combined with the Central Industrial Education Center and became Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC). At CPCC Dr. Hunter taught mathematics before moving into administrative positions and eventually becoming the vice president of arts and sciences. Dr. Hunter then describes his work at UNC Charlotte after he retired from CPCC in 1995. In particular, he was able to provide support to minority students interested in careers in science, engineering, and math through the PRODUCE program. Dr. Hunter concludes the interview by summing up his belief that with the right support and encouragement all students can succeed.