Reverend James Seawood (JS)
JS: As a child, I would climb up on the lumber stack and look over at the white school–huge school with a band, football team, everything that you could imagine. And on our side, here we were,uh, with our two-room school, outdoor toilets and our two teachers. Gradually as the black population in town began to go down, that left my mother there at the school as the principal, the janitor, whatever was needed, she had to do everything. And, as long as there was one black child left in town, they had to keep the school open. So 10, 9, 8, mother was there till the last child, the last family was forced out of town. So I remember one day, mother and I got into the old station wagon because mother had heard that the school was going to be torn down. We went inside the school, we got whatever records we could find, we put them in the back of the station wagon. Then, a big bulldozer came and dug a deep hole, and after digging this deep hole, just pushed our beloved school in the hole and covered it up…and it was as though it was, um, never there. Years later, when I was, uh, in graduate school, people would talk about, uh, urban renewal and… All of those kinds of ideas in my classes, I had a particular perspective. To me, urban renewal meant that they’ll dig a deep hole and push your school, cover it up and it will be like the school never existed or you never existed. I’ll never forget those days. Even today, this town of Sheridan, Arkansas is an all-white town. And if you ever have an opportunity, uh, to go through that town, drive very slowly.