FINALLY, CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT UH HOW YOU LEARNED ABOUT THE DECISION BEING HANDED DOWN IN '54 — WHERE YOU WERE, AND WHAT THAT DAY WAS LIKE.
On the day the decision was handed down, I was attending school, and my father was at work. My mother was at home, doing the family ironing, and she heard on the radio uh the decision, that had been handed down through the Supreme Court. I learned about it that evening, upon arriving home from school. I noticed that my mother was very overjoyed at something, and then when she shared the news with me, I felt a joy too, because I felt that my sisters wouldn't have to walk so far to school the next fall. Uh, my father arrived home that evening, and she relayed the message to him about what had happened, and he was just overjoyed. There was joy throughout our family, throughout the home that evening. In fact we gathered together, and my father did, in fact, say Thanks be unto God, because he knew that this was the right thing that had happened, and they had fought so hard for this. My father took me by the hand, and we walked over to the all-white Sumner Elementary School, which was four blocks from my home. Uh, Being very small, the steps seemed very large and tall, and we walked into this building. My father asked me to stay outside and sit in the foyer, and he went into the inner office with the principal and they talked. And as they talked, I could hear the voices growing louder, and I knew something was causing my father to be very distressed. After a while, he came out of the principal's office, and he took me by the hand and we started walking home from school, and I could feel tension within his hand, feel the tension from his body being generated to my hand, because he was very upset about something. Uh, I didn't know exactly what had gone on, I was hopeful that I would get to go to this school next fall, because that's where my playmates went to school.
[That's a cut. Camera Roll will be 110 now. Sound Roll still the same, 1104]
I remember the day that we walked over to Sumner School, the all-white school, four blocks from our home. My father took me by the hand, and we walked briskly over to the school. I remember going inside the building. Being a small child, the steps seemed large, the building seemed large. We walked inside. My father asked me to stay outside in the foyer and sit. He went inside with the principal, and they talked, and as they talked, I remember their voices growing louder and louder, and I knew something was wrong. Uh, after a while my father came out, he took me by the hand, and we began to walk home. And as we walked home, I could feel tension within his body being transmitted to my hand. And I looked up at him, and I knew something was wrong. When we got home, he tried to explain to me that they turned me down, and I would not be able to go to the school that my playmates went to, because of the color of my skin, but being a young child, I didn't comprehend color of skin. I only knew that I wanted to go to Sumner School.
[That interview was on Camera Roll 110]
At the time the suit was going on, the black teachers here in the school system did receive a letter from the Board of Education, saying that, in fact, if the decision was handed down in favor Of desegregation of schools, they may not have a job that coming fall, because there were some black, uh, some white parents here in the city that were very concerned about their children being taught by black, black teachers. And the teachers were very concerned that their livelihood would be in jeopardy, if desegregation of schools came about.