James Bryant headshot

James Bryant

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

Michelle Taylor was the first, the late Michelle Taylor.  And I can remember we were home one night, and there was a big fight on the football field.  They called that child everything but the child of God, as my mother would say, just the N-word, and it was just awful, and just ended up being a big brawl.  And so they had to call in the police.

Phyllis Leffler: Who was involved in the brawl?

James Bryant: Just the students, the Black and white students, because they were insulting Michelle.  She was on the field cheerleading, and they were just calling her the N-word and all kinds of just horrible names.  And it just got to the point, it was a boiling point, and this big mele broke out.  I wasn’t there, I think my brother was there, my older brother, he was at the football game.  That was the beginning of the racial tension that continued to brew just because we had the first Black cheerleader on an all-white cheerleading team, so that was an issue.  But as far as getting along with students, I had a wide array of friends.  But it was just this cultural thing, the have and the have-nots, I think.