By: Dr. Jacquelyn Simmons
My Dear Friends,
As we continue our “trek” through the days before and now during so-called legal integration, it seems as if we, African Americans, have lost, in many instances, more than we have gained. It is true that we may sit in front located bus seats, eat in restaurants, previously denied access to us, and a few of us have attained employment on jobs previously denied us, but our schools and communities are still segregated. Many of us have lost some of our most important God-given gifts-Christian and college-bound educational training for our children. The majority of them are being trained to work beginning in Pre-K in servile positions such as fast foods restaurants and other similar occupations. Some of our children are now graduating with school attendance certificates only which are “dead-ends” to upper educational trainings. The old-adage misdirected toward us, in some minds, is still in effect: “A few African Americans allowed to enter God’s Heavenly gates where milk and honey supposedly will be served to God’s saints only, our task will be to gather the honey, milk the cows, and of course, serve and clean up afterwards.” This servant of God is rejoicing that he loves all of us the same. He has no respect of person (2 Chronicles 19:7). He has also offered his greatest gift to all of us, salvation through his only begotten son, Jesus Christ.
Previously, Mr. Carroll, late principal of Carroll High School, appointed a dedicated student class scheduling committee which consisted of well qualified tenured teachers and others to schedule students in classes for the upcoming school terms. They took in consideration the student’s aptitudes, talents, used or not used grades, their perspective teacher’s performances in certain areas, etc.
Some students who been placed in college-bound tracks, tried to change their classes to easier courses, but to no avail. Afterwards, some of them were happy at their decisions and said so, and others…
Afterwards, to some of our horrors, during the so-called integration of schools, we discovered that Neville had been issuing at least two diplomas, one completely unknown to us, who only issued the traditional one diploma. The “unknown diploma” was issued to higher performing students who obviously were “college bound”. Had we known, since all of the city schools “were supposedly” operating under the same school board supervision, we could have done the same in order to encourage and congratulate our high achievers, also.
But here is the “kicker”… A certain child’s parents discovered that their secret diploma practice after the so-called integration process was in effect. One of her white English teachers had suddenly started giving her “F’s” in her required four years of English class which would have prevented her from receiving one of the coveted, “sneaked” diplomas. The parents notified school administrators, who investigated the situation, and to their utter dismay, they discovered that the teacher at Neville never returned graded tests or required homework during the entire school term up to that point and time. But God…
Afterwards, that African American child was among the first transferees from Carroll to receive the “secret” diploma. She was also transferred to another white English teacher’s class whose agenda apparently was not the same as her former instructor. God!!!!!!!
However, by this time, due to great dissatisfactions expressed by many of our African American communities, most of our students opted to return to our beloved Carroll High School which was no longer an abominable ninth grade center. God!!!!!!!!!