James Bryant headshot

James Bryant

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

Well, it was an adjustment for all of us that came from Jefferson because we lost our community.  We lost our surroundings.  We lost the great teachers that we had at Jefferson.  Because one of the things that people must know about Jefferson Elementary School at that time, failure was not an option.  Teachers expected you to excel, and teachers were part of the community.  And if there were issues in terms of your grades in the classrooms, there was no question that your parents were going to be contacted.  They were up close and personal.  We walked to school, and we walked past our teachers’ homes and revered them, you know.  And so it was a sudden change in sixth grade because the teachers looked at us differently, the White teachers.  I had always received straight As on my report card up until the time I got to sixth grade.  And that was the year that I got an F for one six weeks, and that was the first F I had ever received on my report card.  So I took pride in making good grades.  I was a good student, and I studied hard, and that to me was devastating.