By David W. Beckwith
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Additional resources for A New Day in the Delta: Inventing School Desegregation As You Go
She was of average height, matronly, with a dignified air. She wore glasses, and her brown hair was worn in a style that was popular in the 1950s. She also looked very ill at ease. I went up to her and introduced myself. “You’re from Alabama, I hear,” I said as an opener. “Florence,” she answered. ” I asked. ” “I’d like to hear,” I countered. “My husband had a job transfer to Indianola. ” She sighed. “No luck. There were no openings. “So . ”—she looked around the room—“I ended up here as a last resort.
Hadley’s classroom. She was sitting at her desk, staring at the empty room. I stopped in to speak to her. ” I asked. “I ate here at my desk—alone. None of them included me in their lunch plans. I didn’t shut them out—they shut me out. ” I reminded her. “You’re new to them, just like they’re new to you. It’s going to take a while for them to accept you. That goes for me, too. ” “But you’re young; you’re flexible. ” I smiled encouragingly. ” Back in the classroom, the afternoon session of the faculty meeting got under way.
My momma said I need to be excuse from taking PE,” piped up a girl in the back of the room. “I don’t know anything about that,” I answered. “You’ll have to go talk to Mr. ” she asked. “No, just stay put. You’ll have time to talk to him—“ Rrriiiinnnnnng! The bell again. “Don’t pay any attention to it,” I said, ignoring the jubilation the raucous sound had brought.