As a senior citizen, I feel free and compelled to share the many positives and some negatives of my Creole culture and educational experiences and of those of my classmates as we relive our formative school years mainly during the 1950’s. During that period, teachers, parents, and principals — all African Americans — valued education during racial segregation in the south; they set high standards for student achievement and believed that the students could reach those standards. They set standards of performance for the common good, and they believed that we could become good citizens and rewarded us for doing so. Those beliefs and the experiences provided by the teachers and principals and supported by our parents helped to produce competitive individuals in all walks of life who serve their communities with distinction. Many of our parents were not formally educated; however, they were steadfast in supporting the education of their children.
I also wrote this book to share with others what the learning environment was like at Valena C. Jones School and other public and Catholic schools for blacks of the 7th Ward of New Orleans, how the schools supported the community and how the community supported the schools. Perhaps, there are aspects of that culture that could be useful in informing the educational environment in our schools today.
The memories my classmates and I have of our parents, teachers, and school leaders will no doubt touch the hearts of parents, teachers, principals, other school administrators, and students. The reader will clearly see the school was an extension of the home and vice versa.
Finally, I wrote this book to share glimpses of my valuable education and life experiences, as well as those of some of my classmates with my family and future generations. It is one of the best gifts that I can give to these groups.
This book is intended for teachers, parents, school administrators, Schools of teacher education, teacher professional organizations, community leaders concerned about education, school board members, school system leaders, and the religious societies that have had a great impact on the education of blacks.