Sara Criss’ Civil Rights Memoir #94: End Results

“Otis Allen, Leflore County superintendent of education, said, ‘It will be much harder for parents to make the decision to send their children back to the public schools than it was to make the decision to leave it. Once they are in the private schools most will probably stay. This is a problem which is causing tension between families and friends, between children and parents. We have had more complaints from the blacks than the whites on having to change schools.’ Mr. Allen predicted that the south would probably be the first area in the country to see this thing solved. ‘Violence on the part of local people has not occurred, ‘ he said. ‘Any incidents we have had may be traced to outsiders. No local individual or group efforts have been made to interrupt the educational processes.’

“At the same time the Greenwood schools were being desegregated, so were those in the county as well as those in other school districts throughout the state. Private schools were springing up everywhere and in some of the rural areas the former all-white schools soon became black schools and former black schools were abandoned as all of the white children fled to the private schools. Scholarships were being arranged for those who could not afford the tuition.”

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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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