Interview with Jean McGuire

But, what could elected officials have done that they didn't do?


Well, basically, one of the things that Ruth Batson and Paul Parks and Mel King and many other leaders, Elmer Lewis, were asking then were the things that we knew made for appropriate responses during school integration. And they were the things that changed the- they changed the, um, the atmosphere and the climate within the building and within the community. You have to understand what people bring with them, in terms of baggage, that you have to get rid of. None of that was discussed. Desegregation took place without discourse between teachers in districts, between parents and teachers, between book suppliers and people who supplied the school system with teachers, say the universities. It just, like, happened without any leadership to prepare the way. There were no round-tables, there were no Ford Hall Forums. There were no in-service meetings where people discussed the need for, if you want to put Black and White kids together, what would you want if you were integrating a few White students into an all Black school system.