Dear Editor: I can't find words to express my appreciation to you for writing the article about the education of black children in Rockdale County prior to the integration of the public schools in Georgia.
The article quotes my uncle, Grover Simmons. He makes mention of the fact that because at one time there was no high school for black children to attend in the county, his two older sisters had to go to Atlanta to live with families so that they could attend Booker T. Washington High School. One of those sisters was my mother, Rosa Lee Simmons Craig, and the other my aunt, Lucy Simmons Pennington. Also quoted in the article is Conyers City Councilman Cleveland L. Stroud. He is related to me by marriage.
Despite the deficiencies in the educational opportunities for so called "colored" children during that period, my mother, aunt and uncle each obtained college degrees and later graduate degrees. My mother had an outstanding career as a public school teacher and was one year named Teacher of the Year for the State of Georgia. Before her retirement, Aunt Lucy worked in the public and private sector and served as HR Director in the administrations of Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson. My Uncle Grover is also retired having taught mathematics and computer science at Virginia State University, Morris Brown College, Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College. Grover is also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps where he was a boxing champion.
By the way, due to my mother's coming to Atlanta to attend high school and later college, she met and married my father. He too had come to Atlanta to attend high school because the schools in Cartersville in Bartow County (where he was raised), did not have high school education for African-American students. He was the first in his family to graduate from high school and he later graduated from Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University).
There are hundred of thousands of similar stories from African-American families in this country. It's unfortunate that so many of today's students don't value education as much as they should. Too many black students are unaware of the struggles that our forbears had to endure to bring about the opportunities we have today.
Harold Eugene Craig, Jr.