“Learn About” Questions
- Why were National Guard Troops needed when the school year began?
- What is the Brown vs. the Board of Education decision about?
- Who was Jackie Robinson and what important role did he play at this time?
“Learn From” Questions
- What was/is my school like? Would it tend to be more upper, middle or lower class?
- Have I ever found myself in a situation where I was on my own to make something important happen? What was it like?
- Have I ever been asked to play a role that I didn’t necessarily want to play but did it anyway? What was it like?
Well, all of the summer, there were continuous stories in the paper about violence going to occur around the opening of school and that the Governor at that point hadn’t decided he was gonna call out the troops, but that was one of the things offered up and I said, well, you know, I’m out there now. I’ve decided I want to transfer. I may as well go through with it. And, we finally met at Mrs. Bates’ and there were of course more than 9 students. The school board had approved something like 23 or 24 students to transfer and when that first day occurred and there were 10, I think, one young lady dropped out who lived not too far from me. And I looked around and saw that I was the only one in the 12th grade. I got a little concerned about that. I figured, what do they know that I don’t know? But again, going back to the who’s going to carry out or who’s going to implement the Brown decision? Somebody’s gotta step forward on it. And I figured I saw what Jackie Robinson did in baseball and a few other things beginning to break through and I said, you know, why not me? I knew Central. I lived in the neighborhood, played in the band. We used the Central football stadium, the conveniences of Jim Crow life was such that one night the black school played, the next night the white school played because again, getting back to what they could afford, they couldn’t afford two football stadiums so we all had to use the one at Central. And I always remember marching up and down the field during halftime or whatever we were doing, and thinking that Central High School is three times the size of the school that I go to. I mean, what the hell could they be doing in there? So, both my curiosity and the fact that I came out of this family of teachers, that they knew that Central had more books, more science labs, more this, more that, and that when it came to cutting the budget, it was at our behest that they would cut the budget, that Central would get top of the line.