Interview with Harold Engstrom


Harold Engstrom:

When we got the interpretation of what the integration was, the key words were "with all deliberate speed." And we could understand that that was a contradiction. We could understand that there probably was a lot of compromise, within the court, on the ruling that, and of course, there were no precedents, or cases, of what was all deliberate speed, and what was not, so we had to come with our interpretation of what all deliberate speed really meant, and we felt like – like anyone, I guess, in our position, that we – it would be related to our problems in our community. And so we made our own interpretation of what all deliberate speed was. Of course, we had good legal advice. And – but that was our conclusion. That our plan would be satisfactory for us, mainly if we had real, earnest intention to comply, and we did. We really intended to comply. We thought that that was our duty, and our job, our obligation to do it, and we wanted to be in conformance. But we did have another another standard that didn't have anything to do with the wording of the court, or any legal interpretation. I don't know whether it was Mr. Blossom's idea, or Dr. Cooper's idea, or someone else on the board, but we were dedicated to the continual improvement and progress, in trying to upgrade the quality of education in Arkansas, which at most, traditionally, had been 49th or 48th. And so we, among ourselves, and in our explanation to anyone that would listen to our plan, the speed would be that speed with which we could continue improvement. If we ever stalled, to where we could not continue improvement, we'd stall the plan. But we did intend to proceed, we did intend to comply, but we did intend to be controlled by the primary purpose. Our primary obligation, which was to continue to improve the education.