Kenneth Williams recalls how his father voluntarily integrated his sons into Bibb County’s Pearl Stephens Elementary School. Williams said he and his brothers used to run home from school to avoid being drawn into fights with white children, until their father said, “You're gonna go to that school, so you might as well stand up and fight because you're going back!” Williams is a member of Central High School’s class of 1977 and was among the first Macon children to spend all or most of their school years in integrated schools. He spoke at his 40-year class reunion at Healy Point Country Club, Nov. 4, 2017.
Jeff Cheeves, a member of Central High School's class of 1977, was among the first Macon children to spend all or most of their school years in integrated schools. He said he had no personal issues with the racial integration of Bibb County schools, but he vividly remembers a black student who integrated into his class in elementary school and “seemed tense about being in an all-white school.” Cheeves said it should be socially acceptable for people to want to be around those of common identity. In another instance, a teacher refused to issue a girl books because she was black, he said. Cheeves spoke at his 40-year class reunion at Healy Point Country Club on Nov. 4, 2017.
About 30 community members attended an Oct. 24 event hosted by Mercer's Center for Collaborative Journalism, The Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting. It was the fifth public program in the collaborative project about race and schools. Attendees watched the documentary "Separate and Unequal" and had small group discussions.
Thelma Dillard gives her perspective on Macon's school integration history in this radio segment from GPB Macon. Dillard was an educator for 44 years and is a current school board member. She is one of seven children in the Bivins family, who were instrumental in the community's desegregation. Her sister was the lead plaintiff in Middle Georgia's first desegregation lawsuit, Shirley Bivins vs. Board of Education.
Sloan Oliver asks, "Why does everything have to be about race?" at a community meeting on race and schools hosted by Mercer University's Center for Collaborative Journalism, Jan. 24 at the Buck Melton Community Center.