By: Jacquelyn Simmons
My friends, that last assembly held in Carroll High School’s auditorium was the saddest I had ever attended. Previously, the saddest was during assemblies while some of us mourned the loss of an important game, but not to the magnitude of the assembly we were attending that day. Some male faculty members and students bravely tried to appear stalwart but were “kind of wiping” their eyes as they exited the auditorium. Another thing which saddened me was the knowledge that some of us would never meet again on this side of the Jordan. It proved to be true.
Grades 10-12 were sent to Neville or Wossman High School which decidedly placed us at a disadvantage. Carroll was changed to a ninth grade center or should I say a ninth grade disaster?
Obviously, the plan was to disrupt more African-Americans than Whites. The people of the two schools were “at home.” We were the unwanted Interlopers in their territories. That afternoon, after the last assembly, the teachers assembled in the school’s library to be given instructions as to our next assignment. My assignment envelope contained information concerning my transfer to Neville’s campus on which I was to report the next morning at 8:00am-prepared to teach Civics and Geography.
I had not been given time to transfer my teaching materials from Carroll to my home or locate materials from somewhere in order to teach Geography. I did not remember ever having taught Geography which found me devoid of materials from which to draw.
But God…. recognizing my plight enlisted the aid of an established White Geography and Civics instructor, Mrs. Kilpatrick, now deceased, already employed at Neville, who came to my rescue and supplied me with an abundance of materials with which to teach Geography. Thank God for her.
The reactions to us were varied among administrators, faculty members and students. They ranged from our being completely ignored to others being “welcoming – friendly” (if that’s a term).
To my surprise, the structure of the main building was decidedly inferior to Carroll’s. In fact, I wondered if it was safe especially while climbing shaky stairs. They reminded me of the shaky stairs I had to climb while attending my first half year in the first grade at Monroe Colored High School, Dr. M.J. Foster, principal. Afterwards, “daddy” moved his family to Denver, Colorado due to a very serious encounter with a white supervisor at a local downtown department store. The supervisor kicked him while saying he was not working fast enough. “Daddy” had to swiftly relocate us, his family, after retaliating and kicking the supervisor down the elevator shaft…