James Bryant headshot

James Bryant

Jefferson Elementary School, McGuffey Elementary School, Walker Elementary School, Lane High School

The biggest thing that happened to me at Walker, I was at my locker, and a classmate of mine, we had arrived together, and I was getting my books out of my locker, and he called me the N-word.  I had never been called the N-word in my life.  So of course, typical kids, I responded.  It may not have been the best decision, but we both were sent to the office.  And the principal decided he was going to paddle both of us.  Now mind you, they were still paddling at that time.  I didn’t know that because I’d never been paddled.  I was a pretty good child; I didn’t get a lot of spankings.  So I told him he was not going to spank me.  He said, “Just go sit in the assistant principal’s office.”  So the young man who called me the N-word went in and got his little licking, and I heard him in there screaming and hollering.  So I said, “You’re going to have to call my mother.”  So whatever my mother said to him over the phone, he was very angry and told me to sit in the assistant principal’s office until the class period ended, and I never got a spanking for that.  I never got an apology from the student for calling me that word, and I didn’t even know who he was, I didn’t even know his name.  He just said, “Oh, you don’t, Black N,” and that’s it, and so we just went on from there.