Partial Transcript: Charlotte, would you give us a little...
Segment Synopsis: Eady talks about her childhood growing up in Blackshear, Georgia. Eady states that her parents had little education, an aspect which she claims was integral to her career choice as a qualitative researcher of education. Eady explains her research and talks about her work as an associate professor of education leadership at Jacksonville State University. Eady details the integration history of Blackshear, Georgia, and her participation in it.
Keywords: Griffin, Georgia; Jacksonville State University; Sylvania, Georgia; University, Georgia; research
Partial Transcript: It was a life-changing experience...
Segment Synopsis: Eady recalls that in being one of the three black students at Blackshear High School (previously all-white school), she experienced a new level of hostility from both teachers and students. Eady shares how the majority of her teachers were unsupportive of her academics and her decision to attend Blackshear. Eady talks about how her counselor's academic encouragement led her to receive full tuition and board scholarship from the University of Georgia.
Keywords: Blackshear High School; University of Georgia; education
Partial Transcript: We were actually recruited to Griffin...
Segment Synopsis: Eady explains her decision to work in Griffin, Georgia, as there were many job opportunities for both her and her husband. Eady recalls how she came to interview C.W. Daniels, a well-known member of the Griffin, Georgia Community. Eady talks about C.W Daniels's work as the principal of an African American school.
Keywords: Camilla, Georgia; Griffin, Georgia; Mount Zion Baptist Church; Norma Greenwood
Partial Transcript: For the most part, before the schools were integrated...
Segment Synopsis: Eady explains how C.W Daniels managed his position as the school system administrator of Griffin. Eady recalls that Daniels maintained prestige as a result of his benevolent actions within the community. Eady explains how Daniels was integral in maintaining the school's functions. Eady recalls the ways in which Daniels faced prejudice while working as the supervisor of the newly segregated schools.
Keywords: C.W Daniels; Griffin, Georgia; education; segregation
Partial Transcript: So he was able to...
Segment Synopsis: Eady describes the ways in which C.W Daniels maintained composure and authority as the the supervisor of a recently integrated Griffin High School. Eady explains how Daniels handled a particular incident, in which a protest took place at the school. Eady talks about Daniels resourcefulness in offsetting the effect of a lack in resources in Griffin's African American educational community.
Keywords: C.W Daniels; Griffin High School; education; protest; segregation
Partial Transcript: So our oldest son had to transfer from...
Segment Synopsis: Eady shares the ways in which C.W Daniels would help the community by getting children involved in educational opportunities around the area. Eady talks about the history of Griffin's Mount Zion Baptist Church.
Keywords: D.W. Daniels; Griffin, Georgia; education
Partial Transcript: They moved then...
Segment Synopsis: Eady relates how segregation led to the creation of the Griffin Mount Zion Church. Eady explains that the church eventually burned down and was rebuilt in its most recent location. Eady emphasizes Mount Zion's importance as the center of community activities. Eady describes C.W Daniels as the "liaison" between the black and white population of Griffin.
Keywords: Griffin, Georgia; Mt. Zion Baptist Church
Partial Transcript: Cabin Creek was a private school...
Segment Synopsis: Eady talks about the history of Cabin Creek as an African American private school. Eady opines how integration came as a challenge for many of the black students living in Griffin. Eady talks about her experience with integration, and how she was angry after she realized the inequalities of her previous education at an all-black school. Eady shares how she later appreciated the adaptability of her teachers in their abilities to teach with limited resources.
Keywords: Blackshire High School; Cabin Creek (private school); Cabin Creek Baptist Association
Partial Transcript: And, my band director would have to...
Segment Synopsis: Eady explains that while at Blackshire High School, a majority-white school, she was repeatedly discriminated against by both teachers and students. Eady recalls how integration challenged the sense of identity of both the black and white students and how each group dealt with this challenge.
Keywords: Blackshire High School; Griffin, Georgia; band; education
Partial Transcript: I'm so proud to say that there was a group...
Segment Synopsis: Eady recalls the process of renovating a Griffin, Georgia all-black school into a community center. Eady relates her observation that individuals reacted differently to the process of integration.
Keywords: Griffin Georgia; community center; education
JOHN CRUICKSHANK:Okay, good afternoon, I'm John Cruickshank. I'm the librarianhere at University of Georgia Griffin Campus. And today I have other people here who are interviewing with me. We're interviewing Charlotte King Eady. And I have with me today -- let's just go around the table and introduce ourselves.
ART CAIN:Okay. My name is Art Cain. I'm in the Office of Continuing Educationhere at the University of Georgia Griffin.
JEWEL WALKER-HARPS:I'm Jewel Walker-Harps, president of the Griffin branch of NAACP.
BE-ATRICE CUNNINGHAM:My name is Be-Atrice Cunningham, I'm in the Office of theAssistant Provost and Campus Director at the Griffin Campus.
CRUICKSHANK:And thank you. And today we're interviewing Charlotte King Eady.Charlotte, could you give us a little background information about yourself?
CHARLOTTE EADY:(laughs) I am a native of Blackshear, Georgia, population 3,000.Maybe 3,010. I am a graduate of Albany State University. Was college 00:01:00when I was there. Of -- also of Georgia State, Georgia Southwestern, and the University of Georgia. So I've lived in Georgia, I'm a native Georgian, I've lived here all my life, I've never really wanted to go anywhere else. My parents were not well educated, I need to say that. My dad had a third grade education, taught himself to read Plato and Aristotle to me as a kid, and I had no idea what it was about. But I was listening because it was my dad's voice. And my mother was an LPN. So I have a great respect for education and history. And the history especially of my family and of African American families throughout the state of Georgia. I'm that proponent that I believe in telling our story ourselves. Because we have a different perspective if you've lived 00:02:00it. And so I'm a qualitative researcher. And my research interest and agenda is -- has been rural education. That because I came up in a rural community, and for most part have lived in rural communities most of my life. I'm in Griffin because my husband wanted to pursue his doctorate at Clark Atlanta University. So we moved to Griffin, we didn't want to go to Atlanta, because we have three children, and one grandson, and we did not want to raise our children in a large city, we wanted to raise our children in a city that was not so small but not large, not rural, but not really urban. And Griffin fit that bill. He is from Camilla, Georgia. I taught in Southwest Georgia much of my career, in 00:03:00Moultrie, Georgia, Pelham, Georgia, Camilla. And then we -- when we came here I continued to teach until I retired in 2003. After retirement -- my husband had retired before I did. And he went to Jacksonville State University over in Jacksonville, Alabama. A friend of ours recruited him and he recruited me. And so I worked over there as well. He worked 10 years there. I worked eight years there, retired as an associate professor of educational leadership in the department of professional studies at Jacksonville State. And you may know I like Jacksonville pretty well, because it's a small town. It's a very small town. It's more students in the -- at the university than it is people in the town. So it did afford me the opportunity to continue some of my research on rural schools, and I've done some publications in rural education. 00:04:00Actually the first publication I did was in the Rural Educator, because I learned -- I had met Patti Chance and she's the editor of that journal. So most of my publication has been in that. My dissertation was also concerning evaluation of teachers in rural schools, middle schools, using what was then the A Plus Education Act under Governor Roy Barnes. And I did most of my fieldwork in Bainbridge, Georgia. I did some in Camilla, and I did some in Jackson. So I got a different perspective from different parts of the state. I've lived also in another rural town, Sylvania, Georgia, which is near 00:05:00Statesboro. If you tell me you know Sylvania, I'd ask you the same question, why would you know Sylvania, but okay. (laughs) My grandparents lived there and I lived with them for a time. My grandfather was a farmer. So I got to experience that life as well. So everywhere I go -- I've been abroad and people would ask me, "So where are you from?" And I say, "Blackshear." And they say, "Savannah?" I say, "Blackshear." They say, "Atlanta?" "Blackshear." "Macon?" (laughs) And I would have to really give a geography lesson to let them know where I'm from. So I have a great affinity for small towns and my little small town especially. I don't usually tell people this, but you probably need to know. In Blackshear the schools were not integrated until 1971. I attended Blackshear High 00:06:00School, which was at one time all-white, in 1966, under what the HEW, Health, Education, and Welfare Department, back in the day had a plan called freedom of choice. And I chose to go there. Was one of three African Americans in my graduating class. And that in itself was a life-changing experience. So it was not like we were wanted there. We were not. And so I had that experience and left there to go to Albany State.
CUNNINGHAM:Can you expound on that? You mentioned that that was aonce-in-a-lifetime experience. A life-changing experience.
EADY:It was a life-changing experience. I had never experienced that type ofhostility even though I grew up in a small town where it certainly was stratified. But I was in my neighborhood and so I felt safe. And I 00:07:00was certainly loved, well loved, in my neighborhood. The funny thing was my parents were much older than most of my contemporaries' parents. So I was the only kid on two or three blocks of my street for many many years. So I was everybody's child. And that's how small towns used to be. And I was safe in that neighborhood and I, you know, I was confident in that neighborhood. And to go to an environment where even the teachers were hostile was really different. My father died when I was 10. Had my father been living I probably would not have done that. But my mother was of the opinion that she should let me make my own choices. And she supported me in that choice. I probably could not have done that without her help, because I was used to being a top 00:08:00student, just -- and I studied hard, but my teachers were not supportive, and that made it even harder. I had one teacher who was very supportive of me. And we're still friends today after 50 years. And -- but she was different for her time. And she was very courageous. And I was a musician. Actually my undergraduate degree is in music education. And so I was in the band. And everybody quit the band when I got in the band. But I will say for my band director that he said, "Well, if you don't want to play, music is music. Notes are notes. And they don't have a color but black. (sucks teeth) And if you don't want to play you just don't want to play, go wherever you want to go, do whatever you want to do." And they came back, because he stood up for 00:09:00that. So I -- that was an experience. It was a life-changing experience. Number one, I had been -- at my segregated school I played the flute. I was the best flute player there. Why was I the best flute player there? I was the only flute player there. (laughs)
EADY:So I got an opportunity to play with some students that were -- I had tocompete with. And -- because I had not competed before. I was pretty good but there were a whole lot of people that were better. And also through going to Blackshear High School I had a counselor that was principled. I won't say he was all in love and liking anything with me or any of the other students for that matter but he was very principled. So he had me to apply for every 00:10:00scholarship in the world, and I got accepted to Berry College, the University of Georgia, every institution in the state of Georgia, because he made me apply. And there was at that time a teacher scholarship where you could receive a scholarship, would pay your tuition, room, and board. And for every thousand dollars that they paid for you, you would have to work one year in the state of Georgia. Having said that, I'm a Georgian through and through, I wasn't going anywhere, and so I took that scholarship. And it paid my way through college. My widowed mother did not have to pay anything. My church paid all of my little incidentals and I just -- I had a full ride. But it was because of that counselor. I never would have known that that even existed. And he was very generous in letting me know that. And I got a chance to tell him thank 00:11:00you for that. Because it really did change my life. I didn't fall back on teaching. I intended to be a teacher. Because I looked up to those teachers that were in my community that were outstanding educators and outstanding people. So that was the thing for me to do.
CAIN:Did you have brothers and sisters? Do you have brothers and sisters?
EADY:I have -- had four brothers. I have three surviving brothers and onesister. My oldest brother is old enough to be my dad. My parents -- I often say my parents had two sets of children, and I'm the second set. So by the time I was going to Blackshear High, actually through most of my schooling, they were gone. They were either in the military or in college. So they were gone and I was just there by myself with my mom. So yeah, I do have siblings. 00:12:00
CAIN:Were there other African Americans who integrated Blackshear High Schoolwith you?
EADY:Yes, yes, yes. As a matter of fact my best friend went -- she and hersister went to Blackshear High in 1965 and then -- but she was in my graduating class. And I went in 1966 and another friend, we're still very very close. We've been friends for over 50 years. So we're very very close. We encountered some different kind of things together so --
CAIN:Well, I was very curious about how you all selected Griffin. I mean youmentioned that. And you mentioned that your husband was going to Atlanta University. You had a lot of choice in and around Atlanta metro of small towns but you all chose Griffin, why was that?
EADY:We were actually recruited to Griffin. Reginald McBride was the principalof Fourth Ward Elementary School. And he has ties in Camilla. His -- 00:13:00actually his -- I think it's his great-grandfather was the founder -- one of the founders of the church that we were members of in Camilla. His name is on the cornerstone. And so Reginald was in Camilla and he found out that we were looking to move and so he recruited both of us to come to Griffin. He hired me at Fourth Ward. And my husband was interviewed at I think it was Kelsey. And he -- someone else was chosen for the job. And our friend Norm Greenwood from Lamar County interviewed him. And he worked there. She hired him. He worked there for seven years at Lamar County Middle School before he came to Griffin High School. And then finally to Anne Street Elementary School as the principal. So that's why we chose Griffin. I mean it was just like a, you know, we just 00:14:00threw it out there and say, "Okay, let's find out where we want to live." We did some research now. We didn't come just blind. We did some research.
WALKER-HARPS:What was your relationship with C. W. Daniels and why did youinterview him?
EADY:Well, I will call him Deacon Daniels because that's what I call him all the time.
WALKER-HARPS:Okay. That's fine, that's fine.
EADY:He was that kind of man anyway. You gave him some kind of title because hewas just that man. He was a member. He was a deacon at my church, Mount Zion Baptist Church, and I was going over to the campus, I went -- I did all my degree in Athens. I only took -- I think I got to take couple of classes over in Fayetteville and a couple in Lawrenceville which is on the other side of the world so that may have been in Athens. And I was taking the first -- 00:15:00I think it was the first qualitative interviewing course that I did take, because I took more than what was required, because it was just so interesting. And I needed a guinea pig. And I had already kind of interviewed my godfather, who lived in Blackshear, who was so much like Deacon Daniels. And I asked him if I could interview him, Deacon Daniels, and he said, "Sure, come right on." So we had a series of -- because we talked all the time. And we had a series of conversations. And that's why. I chose him, but he allowed me to.
CAIN:So I would also ask you to give us a little bit of background if you knowit on C. W. Daniels and why he was important in this community. 00:16:00
EADY:Well, I brought with me an article that I submitted. No. I did apresentation on this one. And the name of the article is "My Soul Looked Back in Wonder: The Supervisory Styles and Dispositions of Two African American Principals of Segregated Schools in Georgia." And I started this, and this is why -- this is what -- this was his importance. In the African American community, and I found this to be true in Blackshear as well as in Griffin as well as in Camilla and other small African American and rural communities, the principal of the school was usually called professor. He wasn't credentialed as a professor. He wasn't what we call full of air professor, full 00:17:00professor. He was respected in the community as that person being knowledgeable. For a time in the African American community, the principal of the school was probably the most educated person in the community. The most literate in the community also, if not educated formally. So he was called professor. Well, Deacon Daniels was Professor Daniels. And he was a very dignified man. One of the most well organized people I have ever met, and I'm a pretty organized person myself. He impressed me. And I know that he did this in the school system, because -- even though I wasn't there -- that he was a man of his word. He would do what he said he would do no matter how hard it was. He 00:18:00kept up with everything. He had a chronology of all of the sermons that Pastor Lacy had preached from 1977 until he died. And so he kept up with things. In this community as far as the schools were concerned, I wasn't here, but I got from him, and he didn't tell me this, but I got from him and other people just a feeling of that he was well respected. And he was quite competent. So he took some hits during -- and he told me about that. During the time of segregation. But he took them with grace and that is part of his importance in this community. I think that he was kind of a bridge over troubled water. That he helped to communicate the importance of working together in the schools. 00:19:00I had something here. Let me see. I have it. This is all this hot air let's see. He was telling me that he was the principal of Fairmont. He had pictures and all kinds of artifacts. I don't know what happened to them. But he showed them to me. That for the most part before the schools were integrated the superintendent, whoever that was, and I don't know who it was, actually just let him run the school just like he wanted to run it. And so I said in this particular writing that it was just like he was just make (break in audio) these days, or they are not allowed to make. He had an 00:20:00autonomy that was good, and it was not so good. So he learned to manage that, and managed it in a way that was beneficial to the students and the teachers and all involved. His style -- and he and my -- Professor Sersan my godfather had the same type of style. He had high moral character. One of the things that I noticed about him when I interviewed him, how much he loved his wife. And that gave me much respect for him. He really loved his wife. They'd been married a long time. And he really loved his wife. So he had high moral character. Very resilient. He could snap back in a minute. You know, he didn't -- you didn't get him down. He just sat down, prayed about it, figured out how to get back to where he needed to be. Had a very positive relationship with the 00:21:00community. And he had very high expectations of his students and of the teachers I was not his student, I was not under his supervision. When I was getting that last degree, he had very high expectations of me. And he communicated that to me. (laughs) He just said, "I know you'll do a good job. Now do you have thus and so done? Or have you done this? And don't wait until the last minute?" And -- which I'm not that person. But all I said was yes, sir. Because he was that person that you would do that to. So that was one of the things I think that -- of his importance. Another thing that I found to be true in both communities and in Griffin was the African American principal of the segregated schools did everything. Deacon Daniels told me, said he would coach basketball if he had to. He said he couldn't find a chemistry 00:22:00teacher one time so he taught chemistry. The best he could. Whatever he -- that would need to be done, he did it. He fixed the windows. He mopped. He did all kinds of whatever needed to be done, he did it. And because you're surprised, I'll also tell you that I started going to school at five, but my godfather was the principal of a one-room schoolhouse. And he took me to school with him when I was three. They were babysitter. And he made a fire in the stove. He mopped. He painted. He wired the building. So they did what they had to do. And sometimes it was outside of that that they were prepared to do. So he -- I have here that Deacon Daniels told me, said -- and I was really surprised 00:23:00at this. He said, "I tried to coach basketball because the school couldn't afford a coach. I tried to teach chemistry." So that his students would have -- so that the students would have some exposure to chemistry. He said whenever he couldn't find a teacher he just did it himself. So that was double work for him as well because he said the prep time -- what he told me, he said the prep time for teaching something that you know very little about was just intense. So he had to do a lot of research on that. So I think that was his importance to this educational community.
CAIN: Do you know a timeframe he was principal? In other words what years?
EADY:I don't -- I have --
WALKER-HARPS:He was principal in 1961 I know. Because I came in 1961. But nowhow long had he been principal prior to 1961 I do not know. And he remained principal until the schools no longer existed at Fairmont. So (inaudible).
EADY:He told me it was in the -- I was a kid when he became principal I know. Ihave that in my transcripts because I did ask him that question. But when he -- when Fairmont and whatever, Griffin High or whatever school it was, did finally integrate, he became an administrative in the central -- administrator -- central office administrator.
CAIN:Yeah, and that brings me to one thing that you said was that he was abridge over some troubled waters. And I know there was a transition period from going to an integrated kind of setting to -- excuse me. From a segregated kind of setting to an integrated setting. And I know from what I understand here in Griffin, it was smoother than a lot of places. However, did 00:24:00he give you any specific insight into what he had to deal with, what he had to endure during that transition period?
EADY:Yes. Some of it was disrespectful, that the superintendent was not alwaysrespectful to him. He had a way of handling that. For instance when he was the principal he said the superintendent once -- one of the examples he gave me was that the superintendent came to the school and told him that he didn't know how to evaluate teachers. He said, "This is what you need to do. You need to walk down the hall and peep in the door. You don't have to go in everybody's room, just peep in the door." And he said he told the superintendent, "Okay. I'll do that." Knowing full well he was not going to. Because he felt that that was disrespectful. But to keep from telling a lie he peeped in the 00:25:00door before he walked in the door. (laughs) So he was able to -- that's a part of that resilience. He was able to I guess communicate to the teachers that it would work if they wanted it to work. And if they worked at it. And that is -- I think that is what he told me that he did. And this is, you know, this is secondhand for me because I wasn't here but yeah, I would think so.
CRUICKSHANK:I remember reading in the Griffin Daily News back in I think it was'73. There was a walkout I think, a protest, at Fairmont High. And I guess the students at Fairmont, they marched on Griffin High I think. And I remember reading something about Professor Daniels and how he handled it. From 00:26:00what I remember it was very -- it was a really tricky situation. Did he share with you any of how he dealt with situations like that?
EADY:Well, he called that between a rock and a hard place. Because he understoodthe students' feelings on that, he understood them. But at the same time he was a man that followed rules. And so there were things that he had to I guess say and do that communicated to the students that you still have to do this. (laughs) You walk out, you make this protest. This is still going to happen. And so that's all I got from him about that is that it was just -- it was a dilemma. It was a tricky situation. 00:27:00
WALKER-HARPS:Would you describe him as being conciliatory?
EADY:Somewhat. Because he was a man of grace. And courage. He said he knew itwas going to happen. I mean, you know, so since he knew it was going to happen, you couldn't stop it from happening. Because I -- my understanding from him is that the students at Fairmont did not want to integrate. And so he was saying to them, "This is going to be the way of the world. You can make it hard or you can make it easy." So I guess in that sense yes.
WALKER-HARPS:His -- do you think that his spiritual background had something todo? Because I know that there were many challenges for him. And the inequities that we saw in the resources and the other activities that did not 00:28:00happen at Fairmont. We were happy, but we were also inadequate in many areas. And I'm sure he had to realize that as the leader. So I'm wondering if he had any encounters with the system. Not just the superintendent. But with the school board. In terms of what he believed should be the case and what the needs were at Fairmont compared to what they were at Griffin High. Did he go into that? Now know -- remembering him, I'm not sure he would have gone into that in detail. I'm thinking he would not have. But did he?
EADY:He did not. And I didn't ask him. But in our conversations -- not in ourinterviews. Because see, I saw him all the time. And I'll say I was one of his younger friends. And so we had lots of talks together. He was kind of -- he was my coach so to speak. He knew that the faculty knew and the students 00:29:00knew that they were lacking in things and in resources. And he -- his philosophy was do the best you can with what you have. Until you get better. And so essentially that's what he did. And I guess that's what he communicated to his students and faculty. Which is -- was not new to me. Because I've been in that same situations where my principal communicated the same thing. First new book I had I was 16 years old. We got all the old books. So and I, you know, I was going all through it, it smelled good. (laughs)
WALKER-HARPS:He was the -- Mr. Daniels was somewhat a rock at Mount Zion.
EADY:Oh. His spiritual background is -- can -- is without question. He was arock at Mount Zion. He did finances. He could keep up with every penny Mount Zion had down to the penny. And he was a man that did -- he did speak his mind. But he was not combative. He was not combative. He -- it was still grace. It was still grace. And he was a very independent person also. And even as he aged we really -- I really started seeing him a little bit more because he couldn't get out as much. But he was a rock at the church, a very spiritual person, believed in walking a Christian walk, he didn't talk a Christian talk. He did what Christians do. And some of the things that he did people will never know because he never told them. Some of the charitable deeds that he performed he 00:30:00would never tell anybody because he believed you do your alms in private. And you're thanked for them by God. So he, you know, he was a rock at Mount Zion. And that did influence the way he treated people. Both in the schools and out of the schools I believe.
WALKER-HARPS:I remember him being a transporter of those persons who needed totravel. I didn't know that until he died. How much he committed himself to -- for instance to the elderly and to persons with illnesses who need to get to Atlanta or Augusta or wherever they might need to go. And could not afford. Did not have transportation. He was always available. Even though he had been a principal of the school he was it didn't matter where it was if there was a need, or rather, he was willing to meet that need.
EADY:He was -- when we moved here we had three children. Our oldest son was 16and our youngest was 6 and our daughter was 10. So our oldest son had to transfer from one high school to another, which was difficult. It was a difficult transition. He was in eleventh grade. But Deacon Daniels really just took him and worked with him and made sure that he got some experiences here that he would not have gotten in Camilla. We provided as parents experiences. But we were not so conceited to think that we were his only village. So Deacon Daniels made sure he nominated him to go to Boys State. He did oratorical contests with the American Legion. He -- everything -- and the thing about him, Deacon Daniels, doing is that is my husband was in Lamar County, and I thought I was spread so thin you could see through me. He would come pick him 00:31:00up from school. He would go to Griffin High and pick our oldest son up and take him to whatever meetings and whatever thing that needed to be done or he thought that Lee, we called him Lee, would profit from and benefit from. That without our solicitation. He just asked us, "Is it okay?" And if you --
WALKER-HARPS:Many children were able to go to -- what is it? Boys --
WALKER-HARPS:Boys State and Girls State. Because of C. W. Daniels. And I don'tknow how it stands now but he didn't just ask them to go. He pursued them. He contacted parents and insisted if he knew that they were capable of doing it. He insisted. I had a granddaughter who participated in it because she would not have had it not been for C. W. Daniels. And she would not have performed as well as she did. And I remember specifically, oh, he was a stickler 00:32:00for details. If he said 11 minutes or 5 minutes, howsoever many minutes it's supposed to be. Or how so many words, no matter what the details were supposed to have been, that's what they were to be. And I remember she had to redo it because she had gone over just a word or two. But it didn't matter. If it's not exactly what was asked then you did it over. And you did it the way that you were supposed to do it.
EADY:And for us, being new to the community, if you're a parent, you know youdon't trust your kids with everybody. No doubt. We had no doubt that we could trust our son with him. He was a good example. He was -- responsible doesn't even start to describe him. We knew that if he said, "I'm taking Lee to thus and so place. I'll bring him back at this time," set your clock. He'd 00:33:00have him back. So and he would pick him up from school like once a week. And work with him on the oratorical. Lee is a historian now. And he -- he's a history teacher. And he started him doing history. Different writings and essays and all those types of things. He was just -- he was a rock in this community.
WALKER-HARPS:Tell us a little bit about -- excuse me. About Mount Zion and itsearly history that you're free to share.
EADY:Well, Mount Zion is the mother church of the African American churches inthe city of Griffin. It actually started in the 1850s, late 1850s. In the balcony of First Baptist Church of Griffin. In eight -- in the -- during the -- (laughs) war that emancipated the slaves, the -- most of the white men were 00:34:00gone to war. So that left the women and children. White women and children in the church. And the slaves. So at that time they asked the slaves to stop worshipping in the balcony because they actually outnumbered the other members. The slaves were members of First Baptist. They were baptized. They were members. They were official members of First Baptist. So then they went to the basement. After the war ended, in 1867 they asked that they vacate the basement. And at that time Mount Zion moved to what was then New Orleans and Solomon Street. Now that area is 9th Street. But it was truncated. New Orleans 00:35:00Street was truncated to go on the south side of Taylor Street, but used to be it was all the way on even on the north side of Taylor Street was New Orleans Street. And they bought a lot there. Actually several other churches were established during that same time. You know, I've been in the deed office like they know my name, so I've seen the other churches as well. Some of the other African American churches. And Mount Zion actually started. They had a pastor that I've not been able to identify. His name was the Reverend Owens, that's all I can get. Reverend Owens may have been African American and Reverend Owens may not have been African American. But the first African American pastor of record was the Reverend Daniel Wilson, who was born in Griffin, died in 00:36:00Griffin, he's buried in Rest Haven Cemetery. And several pastors along the way. During that time, the early history of Mount Zion, the Eighth Street Baptist Church came out of Mount Zion as well.
CAIN:Can I back you up just a little bit to make sure I'm clear? You're sayingthat Mount Zion started really in the basement of First Baptist.
CAIN:With slaves in the 1850s.
EADY:Well, it started in the 1850s, they were in the balcony.
CAIN:In the -- in 1850s they were in the balcony. And then they moved to thebasement after the Civil War.
EADY:And -- right. They moved to the basement.
CAIN:And then from there they moved to the street --
EADY:New Orleans and Solomon.
EADY:Where the post office is now. Kind of at the back of the post office. Iwant a marker there but that's another story. (laughs) But that's essentially what happened. They were in -- I think most people think that they actually came from the balcony. Because that was common.
EADY:In the South. It was common for slaves to worship in the balcony. But theydidn't. They came from the basement. And I found in the minutes of First Baptist Church where they may have had a building adjacent to First Baptist Church. I cannot confirm that. But I have found in their minutes where they asked the emancipated slaves to repair their building. And if they didn't repair it the First Baptist Church would tear it down. And so that means that it had to have been a building. And it probably was a building in disrepair, I don't see them having such a grand building. Of course they moved then. It was a Mr. 00:37:00George Phillips that sold them the lot. They had the lot before they had anything on the lot at New Orleans and Solomon. And some historians say it was 9th and Solomon but the map says it's New Orleans. The Sanborn map says New Orleans. It was New Orleans and Solomon. So that's where they -- we started from. And we stayed there until November 10th, 1927. The church burned to the ground. November 20th, 1927, church burned to the ground. At that time Mount Zion had constructed a pretty grand brick building. Beautiful. And it burned to the ground. And they worshipped --
CAIN: how that happened?
EADY:(laughs) No. What they said -- what the newspaper article said is that itstarted in the furnace. That it was a defect in the furnace. 00:38:00
EADY:And I said could be true, could not be true. But that's what was reported.And so after it burned they -- I think Mr. Touchstone told me there was an ice company there where -- next door. And they wanted to buy that property. But there -- the pastor at that time, the Reverend Emory Johnson, I guess they convinced the congregation to move where they are now, where we are now. And that's just a capsule. It's been interesting.
CRUICKSHANK: Well in '27, I think that's the year that Fairmont becameFairmont, wasn't -- when Fairmont was founded.
EADY:Oh, really? I'm not sure. I know that during the time they werebuilding the church in '27 they got -- they went into the new church in '28 -- they worshipped at the Cabin Creek High School. 00:39:00
CAIN:How was the -- how did they build the church? In other words you probablyhad to have some fundraising going on. You had to have some labor, you had to have some kind of design to come up with the current structure. And did you find out anything about how that happened?
EADY:There was a company here in Griffin that actually built the church forthem. They had to fundraise. (laughs) They nickeled and dimed their way. And they actually borrowed some money. At that time banks would not loan money to African Americans but there was a husband and wife, the Batchies, who actually it seems borrowed the money for Mount Zion. And Mount Zion paid the Batchies back through the bank. And that was -- I can remember that happening in 00:40:00Blackshear. I mean that was common also during the times. So that's the way. And then they just nickeled and dimed to pay those notes. Sometime they paid $15, sometime they paid $20.
CAIN:Since we're on Mount Zion and the history of the community, you know, it'salways been the case that the African American church had in addition to religious missions social missions. Things happened. It was a strong institution in the community. In addition to worship there were other things that the church did for outreach and that kind of thing. What's your sense for Mount Zion? You know, as to what -- how it happened with Mount Zion.
EADY:In reading and rereading and rereading the rereading of Mount Zion'sminutes and notes and talking to some of the elder members, Mount Zion was a center of activity for the community. I don't know that -- whether it was the largest church. I don't know why. But they had -- Cabin Creek School would have exercises. The different schools would have exercises. And the exercises were programs that they would have at the end of the year to show the parents what the kids had learned. And it would be at Mount Zion. The Masonic lodge would have things at Mount Zion. They would have -- I won't call them beauty contests. But they would have Miss Cabin Creek High School. That would be at Mount Zion. Musicals would be at Mount Zion. So it was an integral part of the community at that time.
CAIN:Well, I've got a question that goes back to when you were talking about C.W. Daniels. And that is after integration you said that he went to top administration or went to the superintendent's office. And I just wonder if you had -- if he shared that experience, his sort of postsegregation educational experience or employment with you when you were interviewing him.
EADY:What he shared with me and what I took from it would be that he was kind ofa liaison between the African American faculties and staff and the superintendent and the white faculties and staff. That's what I got from it. I think his title, and that is in my transcript, was -- he was the supervisor of secondary education, or something of that sort. But he had in that 00:41:00capacity -- he had access to both sides. And they were sides. Both sides because it was very stratified. So he had access to both sides.
CAIN:So he was kind of a liaison.
EADY:He was just a man that (laughs) if he walked in you -- I mean you just satup in your chair. And you got yourself together. Because that's who he was. That's what he expected. As I said, I was not one of his students. And I wasn't intimidated, but I knew that he expected the very best of me. And actually I appreciated that. I appreciated the confidence that he had in me.
RICHIE BRAMAN:You've mentioned Cabin Creek School a couple times. For ouraudience would you just quickly tell them what that was?
EADY:Cabin Creek was a private school that was organized -- I hope I'm right --by the Cabin Creek Baptist Association. And I found in the University of Georgia rare books collection minutes of the Cabin Creek Baptist Association dating back to 1878 I think. And so it's one of the older private schools. It was a private school for African Americans.
WALKER-HARPS:That name still remains until called a Cabin CreekAssociation or (inaudible).
EADY:Yeah, there's still Cabin Creek Association.
WALKER-HARPS:That association is still a very viable active organization.
CRUICKSHANK:Now that was an elementary school?
EADY:No. It was first through twelfth.
EADY:In the small communities in the segregated schools they were often 1through 12. Not kindergarten. I never went to kindergarten. But I went to Lee Street High School for instance and Lee Street High School included first grade through twelfth grade. And they were divided -- Mr. Daniels told me this and it was true in my community as well -- into the high school department, which was 9-12, and the elementary department. You actually graduated from elementary in eighth grade and then you went to the high school department. All in the same facility.
CRUICKSHANK:So you'd have multiple grades in one class, classroom. You couldhave elementary school.
CRUICKSHANK:All those different levels in one class.
EADY:You could but --
CRUICKSHANK:In one room.
EADY:-- this -- the Cabin Creek was not -- I don't envision it being like that.In our school we had separate. First grade was in a room. Second grade was in a 00:42:00room. And so on. We were in separate rooms, we just were in the same plant, same facility.
WALKER-HARPS:In answer to that question, we're going to have somebody coming inwho actually lived that life, who were actually in those classes, grew up in -- went to Cabin Creek and went to whatever the other elementary, whatever other schools were. So that we can get some -- a better idea rather of what it was really like. Anything else, John?
CRUICKSHANK:Just curious. You commented at one point that I think there's astrong sentiment among the students that the -- correct me if I'm wrong but -- misinterpreting you. But that they didn't like segregation, that they would rather have just been on their own in their own African American school. Is 00:43:00that what you're saying?
EADY:Not really. Segregation, integration was a --
CRUICKSHANK:(inaudible) integration, yeah. Right.
EADY:-- change. Integration was a change. And we know that change is sometimesquite difficult. And I'm speaking now from my perspective as well, not from what I got from Deacon Daniels. They felt an eradication of their identity.
EADY:As a school. And they were rallying against that more so I think thananything else.
CRUICKSHANK:So that was a pretty much a universal sentiment.
EADY:It was pretty much, it -- in my experience it was. In my experience it was.
CRUICKSHANK:So they didn't see an upside to it? Or it was all ...
EADY:We couldn't see an upside because it would -- for the most part AfricanAmerican students never set foot in a white school. So what was the upside? We didn't know. Until I went to Blackshear High School I didn't know that they had a whole room of typewriters and whole room of adding machines and a whole chemistry lab that was fully equipped, I didn't know what they had.
CRUICKSHANK:So what were your feelings after the fact then, once you got into it?
EADY:After the fact, oh, once I got into it, other than -- I got kind of angry,truth be told. I was kind of angry. Because my parents paid a lot of money in taxes because our family was --
EADY:-- an old family in Blackshear. And so that we -- the land we lived on was-- paid taxes. A lot of taxes on. And I went, "Hmm. You mean to tell me?" Actually I remember the first day. I came home and walked up the steps and said, "Mother, do you know? Did you know? Not only do they have a 00:44:00chemistry lab, there's a microscope for every kid." We had one at Lee Street High School, and we had to take turns going to the microscope. So that was my first was anger. Now for me to communicate that to my contemporaries? They didn't care.
EADY:I cared because I just -- I was flabbergasted. I didn't -- we didn't knowthey had those things. So that would have been -- the facilities would have been an upside. A downside was that they hadn't -- we had not -- I'll say we. I'm going to say myself as well. Had not had any white teachers. So -- and they had not had any black students. So that relationship building was different. And sometimes there were no relationships built. I loved my school 00:45:00that I left. And I loved my teachers. I had teachers who did so much with so little. I know teachers that taught with chalk and a chalkboard and that is all. And they were excellent. As becoming an educator I -- that's when I went, "Oh my goodness." They were wonderful. But what I wanted for myself -- I don't know why I thought that way at 15, because I didn't have good sense, but okay -- (laughs) you know, a 15-year-old doesn't have good sense, but I wanted the best education that I could get out of Blackshear, Georgia. And I could have gotten a good -- I was getting a good education. But they had so little to work with. My band director who's still living and I love him, love him, love him because 00:46:00he changed my life, teaching me to read music, was the band director and the social studies teacher. He actually was more social studies than band. So then when I went to Blackshear High, that didn't exist. I had a social studies teacher. And my band director would have to petition and beg and stuff for not new books but books that had been used one time. We would get books that were -- and I'm sure some of you may have -- you didn't, you're too young -- encountered the same thing. We would get books that would actually have notes written to us. They knew that the segregated school would get the old books. So they would write ugly things in the books for us to see. On the pages of the books. And that was a way of life for us. But, you know, if you wanted to learn, you 00:47:00just went, "Oh, okay. Right." We'd scratch it out. Or you just -- you learned. And my objective, I was that nerd. And I really really liked school. That was the best thing that I could do. I'm not an athlete, never have been, couldn't play anything but the flute. And so that was my forte. I was not accepted at my old school all of the time because I was a nerd. You know, nerds have a hard way to go sometimes. So I thought that I was going somewhere that people would accept me for being a nerd and just leave me alone, let me read all day, and I'd be fine. Not. (laughs) It didn't happen that way.
CRUICKSHANK:So you were even less accepted, I supposed.
EADY:I was less accepted, yeah.
CAIN:That whole question of identity I think that you talk about was --
CAIN:-- huge but particularly on -- in integration because you had Lee HighSchool on one side, you had Blackshear, and when they finally merged really Lee probably got absorbed into Blackshear, so all those things that you considered your identity -- which might be your colors, your, you know, whatever --
CAIN:Your mascot, all of that. Went away.
CAIN:And it was really more not necessarily a coming together in that sense ofintegration. But you got absorbed into the other school.
EADY:And that's what happened at -- my understanding here in Griffinas well. And that was their concern.
WALKER-HARPS:(inaudible) here in Griffin. They had a committee from both schoolsand it worked out a compromise. Now Mr. Daniels has that written someplace, I just couldn't find it. What would determine the school colors and the mascot and the whatever. But they agreed upon it. So agreeing to okay, the mascot will be whatever it is, and the colors will be something else. And that was how they did it. The two schools. The two student bodies I think.
BRAMAN:That's what I wondered. Was this more or less -- was the perception thatin integration the expectation was that the identity would be merged? And in reality the black students, sounds like they knew that it would result in a loss of a lot of their collective identity. 00:48:00
EADY:Well, you know, to be fair, the white students thought the same thing. Itwas a loss of their identity. Because even though -- well, I will say in Blackshear they did use the colors and they changed, they got a whole different mascot, Blackshear was the Tigers, Lee Street was the Hornets, and now they're the Bears. So they got a whole different thing. But the white students felt the same way, that they were losing part of their identity. But they had the upper hand. So, you know, the privilege was there, so they had that privilege working for them. Whereas the African American students did not have the access to privilege in that sense. But it was a lot about identity. And ownership. The black school, the African American school, was the center of the African American community. And that ownership at that time, most of what African Americans owned -- and I put that in quotes -- was churches and schools. 00:49:00And to integrate was taking away one of those entities.
BRAMAN:So in a very real way just the act of integration whether it wasperceived as a positive or negative by the rest of the community, it was giving up ownership of one of the few things you could claim ownership of.
EADY:Well, you know, in my old age, I've decided that it was less of a giving upand more of a reshaping. Because when I got to Blackshear High I owned that too. Mm-hmm. Because my parents were taxpayers and I, you know, so 00:50:00that I -- several -- I can't tell you how many times that students -- white students would ask us, "Why are you at our school?"
EADY:And that wasn't bad, I got worse things than that, but okay. (laughs) And Isaid, "Because it's my school. My, you know, my folks work. They pay taxes, it's not just -- it's my school too." So I call that just a reshaping of the ownership. And many of the school -- the segregated school that I attended at one time became an elementary school. And that happened in a lot of communities as well. And then they finally closed it down because so many of the white parents did not want their kids, their elementary kids, to come into the black community. But in Blackshear I'm so proud to say that there was a 00:51:00group of men, it was 50 men, who put up $1,000 each and bought that school building, rehabilitated it, and made it a community center. They still have ownership. They still have ownership in that community of a place where people can walk to. Because the other community centers, they are welcome to go to those too, but they can't walk to them.
WALKER-HARPS:You know, that's interesting, because the same thing, the sameopportunity, existed here. It was not going to cost any money. It was only going to cost $1. And didn't happen.
EADY:Cost them $50,000. Mm-hmm.
WALKER-HARPS:And it didn't happen. I think it happened in Pike County and otherareas. But the alumni association with Aurburn that Conniebell, and they never did anything with it. And at that -- it would have inherited a jewel, 00:52:00because we didn't know really the real value of it at that time. We didn't know. We did not -- we had no idea that it was a valuable piece of land. So some counties did, some counties didn't.
EADY:Somebody had to have that vision. And those men had that vision and theyhad that commitment. Because they weren't offered it for $1. (laughs)
WALKER-HARPS:Well, that was just to make it legal so -- that was just to make itlegal. All right, is there --
CRUICKSHANK:But when you're talking about integration affecting identity, thatgoes a lot further than just one's racial identity. I mean that's affecting your ability to learn, everything. Is it not? I mean in the sense of how --
EADY:When I --
CRUICKSHANK:-- else did it affect students, not just you but generally students.I mean all of a sudden you're being taught by white people and you barely ever 00:53:00interacted with them, it's going to affect how well you can learn surely (inaudible).
EADY:I'm sure it did. But it's according to that individual student. It's areally -- it's a very personal type thing. Whether you see past that to reach the goal that you've set for yourself, if that's your goal, to learn. Or you let that become an obstacle. I think it's very personal. I don't think -- the identity that I'm -- I was speaking of was a group identity. You know, everybody, teenagers like being a group.
EADY:And they had their group. They had their groups, they had clubs. They hadorganizations that they were members of. And they just felt a loss that they were losing that. And some of them didn't take too kindly to it. But as an individual it's very personal whether or not you let that become, you know, I was in classes where teachers wouldn't even look at me. But, you know, I 00:54:00just got -- you don't have to look at me. As long as you teach, I'll learn. And I, you know, there were stereotypes that members of the faculty had about African American students even though they had never taught any African American students. And we -- I didn't go there to dispel the stereotypes but I hope I did. I just went there to learn, that's all I wanted to do.
WALKER-HARPS:Well, it's almost three o'clock, we need to bring this to a closeso we can get to the next meeting. Thank you.
EADY:Thank you. This has been very interesting.
WALKER-HARPS:Thank you ever so much.
CRUICKSHANK:Thank you very much.
EADY:And I thank you for -- each of you for inviting me. This has beeninteresting and I hope this is beneficial. I hope that I didn't just ramble. Because you may know I can talk a long time. (laughs)
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