Sara Criss’ Civil Rights Memoir #93: Full Retreat

“The teachers were terribly disturbed especially when they learned that names would be drawn to determine who would be assigned to the black schools to make up the required black-white ratio. A number of them resigned and gave up their accumulated retirement benefits, some leaving in the middle of the year. This, too, was hard on the students who had to have a change of instructors at mid-term. One of the teachers told me she had a guilty feeling about leaving the public schools but just could not face the possibility of being sent to an all-black school and did not know how she would maintain discipline in the mixed classes.

“The merchants were afraid the economy of the city would be hurt with parents having to pay to send children to the private school. A real estate agent said, ‘I think the school situation is hurting the area badly. People are moving out and few coming in. The middle income people who have a choice as to where they live are not coming in.'”

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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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