First Teaching Assignment: Page 3 of 3

His face turned red and he invited me to come back and have a seat. When we finished that  part of the interview, I left with a written and signed contract in my hand. But that was not before he told me that I would become the fourth Negro to work in the district. And, they each were doing a top quality job. The same would be expected of me.

“I understand.” Was my only comment, that is, besides thank you, Mr. Owens. I walked out with a second grade assignment—and I was the only “Negro” in my school. I don’t think I have to tell you that I did a fine job; the fact that I was given a contract for the following year speaks to that. But I do need to tell you this: at the closing social event for the staff, a fellow sixth grade teacher came with her “Negro” husband AND her “Negro” mother. You know without my saying it, that the staff was in shock.

She told me later that she knew everyone thought she was white. She wanted a job so she kept her mouth shut. The minute I saw her husband and mother, I knew she was Negro. But since I was told I was the “first” at that school, I simply assumed she was of other ethnicity. She also said that I gave her the courage to make her statement in the manner she chose. Some day perhaps, I shall tell you about that first year of teaching assignment. You won’t believe some of the events that took place. But for now, at least you’ve been introduced to my first teaching assignment.


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