Sunday, March 23, 2008

Susan Elijah Remembers Plant City During the Civil Rights Era

Last week we finished reading A Dream of Freedom, the focus title for our Civil Rights thematic unit of study. Through our study of the Civil Rights Movement we learned about the Jim Crow laws and segregation in cities such as Birmingham, Montgomery, and Atlanta, but I wanted my students to know what it was like right here in Plant City, Florida, during that era. As I have for the past three years, I invited my dear friend and retired Tomlin media specialist Susan Elijah to speak to both of my reading classes about what it was like to grow up as a black child in Plant City during the 1950s and 1960s.

Mrs. Elijah shared her life story from birth through college and career with us. She was born in Tampa because Plant City only had hospital facilities for white people. Her grammar and high school education here in Plant City was segregated while she attended Simmons Elementary and Marshall High School. She explained how Plant City itself was segregated with the color lines being the railroad tracks that divided it running north and south and east and west. She recalled how blacks could work at the lunch counter in McCrory's dime store and in the kitchen at Snellgroves, but they couldn't sit at the lunch counter or in the dining room. If they wanted to buy food they had to go to the back door. Mrs. Elijah played trumpet in the Marshall High School band, and when it came time for the Strawberry Festival parade one of Plant City's two high schools led the parade and one was at the end. Of course Plant City High School was always at the front of the parade, and Marshall brought up the rear behind the horses. Mrs. Elijah summed everything up by saying that looking back she can see how unfair segregation was in our town during the civil rights era, but all things considered she said she still had a happy childhood growing up in Plant City.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Wolf Team Strawberry Festival Parking

The Wolf Team parked cars for the Strawberry Festival on Sunday, March 2, and Friday, March 7. We want to thank our students, teachers, parents, and other volunteers who helped us raise funds to purchase supplies for our classrooms and incentives for our students.

The empty Ag field early Sunday morning.

The volunteers arrive and the lot begins to fill.

Mrs. Roberts and Mr. Blount

Mr. Woods, one of our volunteers.

The Ag hog pen provided a fragrant ambience.

Mrs. Stanley and Mr. Blount

A Funny Kodak Moment

Jeff brought in a football-shaped cake for his creative book response on the book Crackback by John Coy. After everyone had been served, I snapped this picture of Hunter, Josh, Jeff, and Ian wolfing down the leftovers. I think Chandler was just observing them demolish the remains.