By David W. Beckwith
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Extra info for A New Day in the Delta: Inventing School Desegregation As You Go
How I made it exactly on the dot, I’ll never know! I registered two more students that morning, a boy and a girl. The girl, who was a little old to be in the seventh grade—having failed a couple of grades along the way—lingered at my desk, made a point of touching my hand, regarded me with a wide-eyed expression in a not-very-subtle effort at flirting. These two brought to twenty-nine the number of students in my homeroom. Since all junior high students were now registered, they were dismissed for the day.
She laughed. “I’m sorry. ” “You can talk to me any way you want to as long as we get the job done,” I said with a smile. An hour later she had transformed a dull bulletin board into a bright, inviting display of pictures cut from magazines, a little red schoolhouse she’d made from construction paper, figures of children playing ball and reading books, and a caricature of an absent-minded professor drawn with magic markers. She stood back to view her handiwork and nodded. ” “Perfect! It brightens up the whole room,” I enthused.
A. B. Levison, the administrator for the whole compound. Not counting administrative personnel, there would be twenty-one teachers with whom I would be interacting. The faculty meeting was held in one of the classrooms in the junior high. It was a typical classroom: rows of desks, blackboard, teacher’s desk—a classroom that could have been in Greenville, Mississippi, or Miami, Florida. It had an almost sterile look, as if it hadn’t yet been outfitted with equipment or supplies. As I hesitated at the door and looked around at those already assembled, I decided that at six foot two, blond, blue-eyed, and fair complexioned, I couldn’t have stood out more if I’d been a giraffe.