Creating Caring and Nurturing Educational Environments for African American Children

By Curtis L. Morris; Vivian Gunn Morris | Go to book overview

Preface

Like other African American children growing up in the small northwest Alabama town of Tuscumbia in the segregated South, Trenholm High School was the center of our lives for 12 years of schooling. For many of us, formal schooling began with the Community Kindergarten that was on the same campus as the high school for many years, and continued through graduation from high school. The high school building housed grades 1-12.

One of the most memorable rooms in that building was the small auditorium in which major school events took place. It was here that we had our graduation exercises, weekly assemblies, class plays, Tom Thumb weddings, banquets, choral and band recitals, proms, talent shows, oratorical contests, basketball games, and dances around the maypole on May Day.

The auditorium was also the major gathering place for the African American community. It was here that we had movies for the community and sat on the main floor instead of in the balcony as we were required to do in the theater downtown. The voices of college choirs filled the room and famous African Americans like Dr. Mary McCloud Bethune spoke to inspire and uplift the race. Our parents and teachers held PTA meetings here as well as political rallies for determining the best candidates to serve the needs of our community. It was also here that pictures of accomplished African Americans like George Washington Carver, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and Paul Robeson adorned the walls. It was a place we thought would always be there when we walked across the stage in 1959 to receive our high school diplomas, a place that we could show our children and reminisce about our growing and learning and maturing. But in 10 short years, we were shocked and disappointed to learn that the

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