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Extra resources for Race-Class Relations and Integration in Secondary Education: The Case of Miller High
They were patient but yet firm in their teaching,” and equal with all: I don’t think there was a difference because I was black and you were white. That attention wasn’t given [by teachers] or that it was more demanding here and not there. 136 40 THE CASE OF MILLER HIGH According to Dotty, if one didn’t succeed in a subject matter, whether one was white or black, it wasn’t because of the teacher, but because one hadn’t put in the effort required of a student: If you didn’t get it, it was because you didn’t want to learn or you didn’t want to take the time.
So you had an opportunity to meet new people that you just didn’t even know that were in your area . . 132 In Dotty’s story, things were no longer just “black and white” as they had been for Annie and Doris. Dotty, who was not spending her energies protecting herself from physical and emotional assaults and who had already practiced being a student in a desegregated elementary school, remembered relationships with peers less in terms of skin pigmentation and more in terms of friendly or unfriendly behaviors across races.
A lot of the things that were taught there [at Miller High], we didn’t have at Washington in Towson [narrator’s previous all-black high school] . . we were learning something different . . I was interested in going into the corporate world . . 107 For those black young women who graduated throughout the latter years of the 1950s—and nearly all graduated108 —the graduation itself was as filled with conflicting emotions as had been their attendance at Miller High. A young black girl could be proud of her accomplishments and bring pride to her family yet simultaneously feel disconnected from the school she was graduating from and eager to get out of it.