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By David W. Beckwith
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Extra info for A New Day in the Delta: Inventing School Desegregation As You Go
The wrangling continued even after everyone had a seat. I felt like I’d been working on the project for a week. ” I stood there and didn’t say a word. Gradually, the room grew quiet. “My name is Mr. David Beckwith,” I said, “and I will be your homeroom teacher as well as your history teacher. I am new at Lincoln and look forward to getting to know you. ” This speech was greeted with blank stares. At that point, the bell rang. Frowning, I glanced at my watch as the students stood up and began milling around.
Rollins drew me aside. “I’ve changed my mind about you taking up tickets Friday night,” he said. He looked me in the eye. “I’m going to be frank. You would be the only white in the stadium. None of the students would know you. As you can imagine, there are always some who’ll try to sneak in without paying, and there might Chapter 3 / 33 be some belligerence on their part if you try to prevent them. Some students, too, will be climbing over the fence, which also would present a problem. Perhaps later when they’ve become accustomed to you, it will be different.
Through business contacts in Leland, my parents had learned more particulars about my hiring. Not only was Leland under federal court order to desegregate, but the courts were using it to initiate what would be the desegregation of all public schools in Mississippi. Mr. Bigham’s willingness to cooperate by hiring white teachers for black schools would delay desegregation of the student bodies for a short while, and it would also ensure that Washington County public schools would still get federal funds.
A New Day in the Delta: Inventing School Desegregation As You Go by David W. Beckwith