1946 Return to Charlotte
After World War II, the profound effects on U.S. society as a result of the war changed Cone’s plans to return to Central High. The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944—known as the G.I. Bill—provided funds for veterans to attend college, but the need exceeded college capacity. The North Carolina College Conference sponsored twelve temporary extension centers across the state to absorb the flood of veterans seeking educational opportunities. One of these was Charlotte Center, housed in Central High School. Initially, it was only permitted to offer freshman-level college credits and operated at night.
Garinger recommended the selection of either Cone or Charles Barnard of Chapel Hill as director of Charlotte Center, and the latter was selected. Garinger believed Barnard’s sex would allow him to work better with predominately male students. In addition to her full workload teaching math to high school students during the day, Cone taught part time and assisted Barnard at Charlotte Center. Cone's legendary and longstanding practice of putting in eighteen-hour workdays began during the center’s first year of operation.