Sara Criss’ Civil Rights Memoir #90: Mass Migration

“Pillow Academy, the private school to which most of the white children fled, was established several years before the court orders for wide scale integration. It originally had only grades one through eight with about 150 students enrolled.

“I attended some of the federal court sessions in Greenville when integration plans were being discussed. It was clear that the local schools did not have a chance, and when I heard Judge Keady tell Hardy Lott, who was the school board’s attorney, ‘I don’t intend to hand down another decision that will be overruled by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals,’ I knew the neighborhood school concept was soon to be a thing of the past. With Mary Carol in the middle of her sophomore year of high school, I could not imagine what lay ahead.

“As soon as the Court orders were announced, the students began to pull out of the public schools, and Pillow’s enrollment mushroomed. By this time they had started a high school program. Every day Mary Carol came home with reports of friends who had decided to pull out. Many of those in the senior class chose to remain at GHS since they had only one semester until graduation.”

About sec040121

Hello....I'm in possession of a priceless collection of memoirs and memorabilia left by my mother, Sara Evans Criss. She was a native and lifelong (88 years!) devotee of our small town, who covered this peculiar and volatile corner of the world for 30 years as the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Greenwood bureau chief, a job that started out with debutantes and high school football and wound up spang in the midst of one of the twentieth century's most enduring social upheavals. This blog is dedicated to her memory and the legacy she left behind, both for her family and her community.
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