An African American woman who helped Charlotte navigate the turbulent times around school desegregation and busing died last week at the age of 87. Kathleen “Kat” Crosby was with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools for forty years. She started with the district as a teacher and rose up in the ranks to become assistant superintendent before she retired in 1986.
She was the principal of Billingsville Elementary when busing to desegregate schools began in the 1970s. The school received its first white students then, including Ward McKeithen’s kids. The former school board member credits her with uniting black and white students and parents.
“She treated everybody the same. She had a great deal of confidence in herself in all the right ways and immediately earned that kind of confidence from those she worked with regardless of their race or other circumstances,” says McKeithen.
He says Charlotte was fortunate to have someone who could earn the trust of so many people during such heated times.
Crosby’s funeral service will be held Saturday at noon at First Baptist Church-West in Charlotte.