Bill J. Reid oral history interview 1, 2012 September 13
In this interview, Bill J. Reid, one of “Bonnie’s Boys” and a Charlotte College alumnus, reflects on growing up in Charlotte, North Carolina, during the Great Depression and on Bonnie Cone’s influence in his life. He recalls his education at Dilworth Elementary School, Alexander Graham Junior High, Central High, Queens College, Charlotte College, and Davidson College. He explains his understanding as a high school freshman of the Charlotte Center (later Charlotte College) that met in Central High School, and he traces his involvement with the college from that point through his years as an alumnus. Topics related to his college career include memorable professors such as Pierre Macy, Edyth Winningham, and Herbert Hechenbleikner, fellow students such as Merwin Foard, meaningful field trips, and the contrasting educational cultures of Charlotte and Davidson Colleges. He recalls being part of a group of students led by Miss Cone who used their own time and resources to encourage community support to fund the college, participating in the groundbreaking at the Highway 49 location, and writing the Charlotte College alma mater, which he sings during the interview. Mr. Reid stresses the vital role Bonnie Cone played in his success, describes her positivity and persistency, shares his continuing personal relationship with her after graduating from Charlotte College, and speculates on what she would think of UNC Charlotte today. Earlier in the interview, he also describes his family, comments on childhood relationships with African Americans in segregated Charlotte, and summarizes his Air Force service during and after the Korean War.
Biographical / Historical
Bill J. Reid was an 81-year-old man at the time of interview, which took place at Jackson Park Ministries in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was born in Charlotte in 1931. He was educated at Dilworth Elementary School, Alexander Graham Junior High School, Central High School, and Charlotte College in Charlotte and at Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina, and was employed as a colonel in the United States Air Force, as the Vice President of Human Resources for Rexham Corporation, and as the Executive Director of Jackson Park Ministries in Charlotte.