Creating Caring and Nurturing Educational Environments for African American Children

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

And even if there were times when you felt like, relative to you or somebody else, that you thought it might not be fair or come to the conclusion quickly that it was intended to be not fair . . . I guess the differences were . . . the teachers do have their preferences. You know they are human and they may like one student better than another one. It may be that they are friends with their parents or they go to church together or whatever . . . There tended to be a preference to lighter skinned kids. And the girls particularly. Lighter skin with long hair gave you an advantage with the teachers. Or it certainly was perceived that way . . . It was little things . . . the things that showed whatever particular teachers had students to do that showed this is the person upon whom they are bestowing their favor at any given time. . . . You get to do the erasers [clean chalk board erasers], or you get to call everybody to order, you get to maybe call roll. . . . You don't know what really happened relative to grades, to tell the truth. . . . And teachers would call on them. . . . If two kids had their hands up, they [teachers] would call on that one [the lighter skinned student]. . . . I felt like it was certainly nor fair and it made you feel like you had to work a little harder because otherwise you were, there was some inferiority there because you were not as light skinned. . . . And you got advantages for that too [being considered smart]. You were given the benefit of the doubt. Because you were known as smart, sometimes you could be not quite so smart and was kind of presumed that you were. But dark skinned kids, little girls with dark skin and short hair, had really a tougher time. And that was pretty obvious to me.

However, our focus in this study was to discover or uncover the good in this segregated school for African American students as perceived by the African American community it served, to record the victories, yet not ignore the negatives. For too many decades, publications have focused exclusively on the negatives of segregated African American schools. Chapters 5 and 6 will explore how other activities of the school and community organizations contributed to and extended this positive educational environment for Trenholm High School students. Can we do this again in schools today that are serving large populations of African American children in our inner cities, small towns, and rural communities? We must! But where do we begin? This is one of the major questions that will be addressed in Chapter 10, Where Do we Go from Here?


REFERENCES

Board minutes: Tuscumbia city board of education. ( 1907, May 17).

Board minutes: Tuscumbia city board of education. ( 1944, October 19).

Board minutes: Tuscumbia city board of education. ( 1950, August 28).

Bond H. M. ( 1969). Negro education in Alabama: A study in cotton and steel. New York: Octagon Books.

Center to Prevent Handgun Violence ( 1992). Straight talk about risks. A prek-12 curriculum for preventing gun violence. Washington, DC: Author.

Dempsey V., & Noblit G. ( 1993). The demise of caring in an African American community: One consequence of school desegregation. The Urban Review, 25 (1), 47-61.

Dempsey V., & Noblit G. ( 1996). Cultural ignorance and school desegregation: A community narrative. In M. J. Shujaa (Ed.), Beyond desegregation: The politics of quality in African American schooling

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