Disintegration began in my community in the fall of 1964. Colored Schools came to an end in Southern Kentucky in the fall of 1964.
Locally and nationally, this was by ideal American intention designed to be a good thing. 46 years ago, the only social and educational environment I had known ended. I learned during the years in segregated schools. I earned honor roll status every grading period. I would not learn so well in the new learning environment. There was the additional imposition and emotional weight of the racial dynamic. Disintegration began in my community in the fall of 1964.
Fall was welcome moment following the summer of 1964. Three civil rights workers are murdered in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Roman Catholic leadership condemns the coming of the birth control pill. President Johnson signs into law, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 abolishing racial segregation in the U. S.
Barry Goldwater, Arizona Senator is the Republican nominee for president. 21,000 members of the armed forces are now fighting in Vietnam. The Warren Commission Report on the assassination of President John Kennedy is published. Disintegration began in my community in the fall of 1964.
In my now disintegrated world, these events pale to what is going on in my town of Fountain Run, Kentucky. The colored schools are now officially closed. All of our culture, memories, and relationships have been trashed to satisfy the notion of the American ideal.
Disintegration began in my community in the fall of 1964. We, the colored children of the county, will no longer have our lunch delivered to our one room school in the back of an open pickup truck. No longer will our text books arrive after years of use by white kids stamped white on one side and colored on the other.
Disintegration began in my community in the fall of 1964. Colored principals of schools are no longer principals. Colored teachers are out of work. Colored children are alien in an environment that does not know what to do with them. Training manuals preparing for our arrival read two words, “They’re Coming!”
The deal had been made. The die had been cast. Now it fell to us, the colored students of the county, to survive the initiation of being the new kid on the block.
Disintegration began in my community in the fall of 1964. The door closed on our community theretofore forced into seclusion by law and tradition of segregation. Colored Economy and Institutions, notably with regret, fell like great dynasties to the memories of descendants.
Disintegration began in my community in the fall of 1964. As one door closed, it was not optional not to enter the new door.
Fountain Run Elementary School proved to be an interesting environment. Nothing hostile was experienced by any of us newcomers. We became members of new classes. We joined clubs and teams.
The memorable event of the fall of 1964 was an event that we did not celebrate in colored schools. My new school celebrated the arrival of fall with a fall festival. It was an indoor fair of carnival games, pumpkin carvings, and my favorite, the cake walk.
Colored and white cake makers brought out their best cakes for the cake walk. Numbers were circled on the gymnasium floor. Cake walkers paid a quarter to walk while music played. When the music stopped, a wining number would be called out. The person standing on the winning number got the cake. It was an exciting moment for onlookers and cake walkers.
Fall Festival at Fountain Run Elementary School was a moment for communities traditionally excluded from each other. Who knew that colored and white cake makers could make such a difference in how a community began to know each other.
Disintegration began in my community in the fall of 1964 but it did not end our life. A new era of social justice and American intention invaded the rural hamlet of Fountain Run, Kentucky in the fall of 1964.
My name is Oscar Crawford. I am a living witness of these events. This is a coming of fall that I will never forget.