The Desegregation Class of 1987

I skipped the 2 class reunions my high school had since I graduated high school in 1987. There were two reasons for that. I was too embarrassed by the fact I was still living with my Mother, flunked out of college, and was reluctant to discuss with others the topic of my mental illness. I also had painful memories as I graduated at the bottom of my class, skipped the prom due to my social anxiety disorder, spent most of my senior year hiding in my room from the World, and had practically no friends by the time it was over. It’s obvious to me now that i was in the prodomal phase of schizophrenia and that my meek college attempt was doomed. If they have a 30 year reunion I may bother to attend. It was a strange time in American history as we entered 1st grade when mandatory busing was enacted. When I was in Kindergarten the school I was at was almost all white and their were only 2 black students in my class. Neighborhood schools were the rule and neighborhoods were all white or all black. The neighborhood we were in was all white until a few blacks entered it. Then the whites ran. By the time I graduated the white flight had gone mainly to the county schools driven by fake doctor’s excuses to enable whites to go to the then predominately white schools. One county school was so overcrowded that gym and art classes were closed in order to take in the overflow. That school demanded room to build to take in their “new students” but since it was obviously resegregation the county school board bolted on the idea. My parents ran from the neighborhood eventually but my Mom and Dad divorced soon after that and my step father was to mildly put it a loser who either didn’t work or could only work for minimum wage. So although my next neighborhood was mainly white we still lived in the city school zone. So we remained in a school system where the white students were disappearing and a majority white system had become a majority black system. There were enough white students left to matter but most of them were the children of public officials (after we graduated the next school superintendent’s kids were sent to a predominately white religious school. The wife claimed that is was due to God being taken out of the classroom. So the head of the schools led a system his kids didn’t go to.) teachers, large families, poor whites, and those who still had hopes the desegregation experiment would succeed. Honors classes were mostly white. The rest mainly had token blacks. I only attended one honors class because I did so poorly and only a few blacks were in it. My brother once said he knew some black students who probably could have made it in honors but were unwilling to go presumably because most of their friends were in more basic classes. More attempts were later made to keep things more desegregated but have basically failed. So now desegregation basically means there are a few token blacks in the private schools which expanded greatly after the city and county schools were combined and a few whites in the public schools who can’t afford the private school tuition and haven’t moved out of the county.That white flight has caused neighboring farming communities to become large cities now. So essentially my class was the desegregation generation. I was often called white boy by other blacks as a put down although I made a number of black friends before I became ill. I am not color blind and have often had racist thoughts but being in a desegregated school made me more aware of the racial disparities in my town and if I can fit into some nice clothes two years from now I may actually go to a high school reunion if they have one and meet my other classmates who experienced the social experiment of desegregation first hand. I still don’t have a wonderful story to tell but it would be better than staring at the 4 walls feeling like everyone has forgotten I exist.

In many ways I am like you except that I graduated in 1977. We desegregated where I live in 1971. There was a big controversy in our town about it. The superintendant of schools was saying, “Okay, Washington has said we have to integrate. Let’s do it.” Strong interests in town were opposed to him, and the school board elections became a de facto referendum on integration. My family got out and campaigned for integration. When I was in the sixth grade black kids first started showing up at our previously all white elementary school.
I too skipped my senior prom. I was so unmotivated then. I just didn’t make the effort - for anything. I stayed drunk and high a lot. I did become a national merit scholarship finalist on the basis of my SAT scores. Those things are over rated. When someone mentioned the twenty year class reunion to me I stayed away in shame because I was nowhere economically and I lived with my mother. I should have stayed home.
Now in the town where I live we are seeing the phenomenon of white flight. Blacks do everything they can to promote this and scare the hell out of the whites. Blacks were showing up in the neighborhood where I live. We weren’t rich, but there was some nice property there. Our house got broken into. They didn’t take much. There wasn’t much to take, and they weren’t after that. They broke into our house to get an incident into the paper and scare the hell out of the whites. One day I saw a whole bunch of blacks sitting around this pond that was in this park across the street from our house. There weren’t any fish in that pond. They were trying to scare the whites again, and pick up a bunch of nice property dirt cheap. I don’t mind them living in nice houses if they can get them without chicanery, but the methods they use are questionable to say the least.

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