Author: Diane Oliver

Natalie Fobes, School integration, 1978, New York Times

Diane Alene Oliver (1943–66) grew up in the black southern middle class of the 1940s and 1950s in Charlotte, North Carolina—an experience she would later write about in her fictional short stories. In 1960, she enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and five years later won a scholarship and matriculated to the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop. She published four short stories before dying tragically, at age 22, in an automobile accident just days before graduating. The University of Iowa conferred Oliver’s MFA degree posthumously.

Neighbors

Diane Oliver

A poignant story of one family is presented in this selection by author Diane Alene Oliver (1943–66), who grew up in the black southern middle class of the 1940s and 1950s and who was herself educated in segregated public schools. Oliver was a friend of the first black student to attend Harding High School in Charlotte, North Carolina. This story, published in the year of her untimely death at age 22, is based on that historical event.