By David W. Beckwith
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Additional resources for A New Day in the Delta: Inventing School Desegregation As You Go
If for some reason you have to miss one of your scheduled sessions, it is imperative that you get someone to replace you. ” No one spoke up, and he handed out the various papers that would control our lives during the coming school year. After that task was accomplished, the women in the group left for lunch while the men remained to gossip and discuss duties for the Friday night football game between the high school teams of Lincoln and Cleveland. The male teachers were assigned to patrol the bleachers, keeping order as well as overseeing the arrival and departure of the buses.
You’re not going to be the only white face at Lincoln. I’ve hired two additional white teachers. ” You didn’t know that at the time you hired me, I thought to myself. “That’s great,” I said. ” “One is a fourth grade art teacher; the other is going to teach English at the junior high,” he answered. I waited. ” “The one I’ve just hired is a licensed teacher with over twenty years’ experience in Alabama school systems,” Mr. Bigham answered. ” Having that sprung on me just before school was scheduled to start jarred the hell out of me.
I didn’t have time for further reflection, because the si- Chapter 6 / 47 lence was broken by loud voices calling to each other in the hall, the scrape of shoes, the rhythmic thump of someone hitting the wall, a yell, “Stop that! ” Some days are embedded in one’s memory for life. For me, my first day teaching at Lincoln is one of those days. ” Only Eddie Watts responded. He gave me a half-wave and tentative lift of his eyebrows as if questioning whether I remembered him. I smiled at him and nodded.