Integration

I moved to Lynchburg from Rochester NY in 9th grade. There were many great teachers and students, both black and white. But big problems as well.
 
All my grades transfered as Cs. That’s what they “do”. I had to to go summer school in math because, though I had taken the course, Dunbar wouldn’t accept it and wanted to put me in the slow learners class (I later placed first in the school at Glass on the National Math Exam). In French, I had had the same Book 1 they put me in two years before in Rochester and so had to sit out a semester. I was still lightyears ahead of the class.
 
Integration was quite an experience: Blacks got free busrides to school. I had to walk three miles. Someone set fire to the curtains in the auditorium at Dunbar. A group of blacks threw a white kid out out of a third story window. A white kid shot a black kid in the library during school hours. I upset a group of black girls who attacked me physically relentlessly for a few weeks, but I ignored them and it did, indeed, go away. We had two cafeterias at Glass: the white one and the black one. We had to count the whites and blacks at the beginning of every class year in each and make sure the “ratios” were right. To make them right, they would put the “proper” number of the best blacks in with the smartest whites who had a better foundation, making it harder on those blacks who would have done much better at their own level. (A teacher quietly told me about it after class when I asked why he was counting us and had asked someone if they were black or white) But it was illegal to fail proportionally more so they were passed through. I had one kid in my senior year who would come in and nap and taunt the teacher “You can’t fail me, I’m black.” He couldn’t read. He was right. I got to school early one morning, a black custodian asked me to help him with “a little something” in one of the classrooms, then shut the door and started to take off his pants. I made it out, reported it but crickets. Nobody cared. I had nightmares for a long time.
 
But education? The three Rs? Well, not so much. Some advanced classes were discontinued because they couldn’t put enough blacks in them. We did have a good football team, though!