Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Hazlehurst Colored School 11th Grade Class
This is the 11th class picture of my Aunt Rosie Durr Scott, my Dad’s sister. Aunt Rosie is the 5th person from the left on the back row. She was born in 1928, the year before the Great Depression in rural Copiah County, MS.
I believe Aunt Rosie was the only one of the five siblings to graduate high school the traditional way. The oldest Uncle Junior didn’t learn to read and he was too embarrassed to remain behind with children who were younger and smaller, so, he quit. Today, he would probably be diagnosed with a form of learning disability. Aunt Alice finished the 8th grade, eager to say good bye to rural life, leaving for the big city of Jackson to complete her education but found marriage instead. My dad Albert went to the Korean War before finishing high school, came home and received his GED paid by the GI Bill. I don’t think the baby, Uncle Ike, finished high school or received a GED.
It was the 1940s and the county had school buses for white children from the rural communities. The children of color from rural communities had to provide their own transportation or live with someone near a high school.
Grandpa Mike’s sharecropping days were over, so, to make a little money he used a horse drawn wagon to take neighbors to town on Saturday mornings. When it was time for Aunt Rosie to go to high school, he asked the folks who had the power to sell him a discarded school bus. Grandpa repaired the bus from monies he received from his other thriving business, bootleg whiskey. This bus was used to take Aunt Rosie, and for a small fee the other neighborhood children to school. He would also use it for his Saturday morning business, which was the real reason his children thought he purchased the bus.