Carrie Mae: An American Life is the story of Carrie Mae Sharpless Newkirk, born in 1923 in Duplin County, one of fifteen children in a sharecropping family. She attended Chinquapin Colored School, a Rosenwald school, and dreamed of becoming a teacher. She thought her dream was impossible after her father died with she was in high school. However, her principal obtained a work scholarship for her to attend Kittrell College. From there, she went on to earn her degree from Elizabeth City State Teacher’s College. Carrie Mae taught in Pender County’s segregated schools, then in 1966 she became one of the first African American teachers to desegregate a white faculty. Her life reflects the major shifts in southern education from the 1920s to the 1970s, as well as her 40+ year commitment to service through teaching. As she often said, “Children know when you love them.” This film is made possible in part by the generous support of the Middle Road Foundation.