There was once an administrator at Portland, Oregon’s ‘White and Racist’ Grant High School who had collaborated in the destruction and racist ugliness heaped on Black students at the school. This administrator rose to become a ‘top’ administrator at Grant and she believed herself to be a ‘part’ of the ‘White’ Grant High School community.
One evening (c.1990s) BlackParentSpeaks received a call at home. The person who called identified herself as a Dr. Myra Rose, the Principal of Grant High School in Portland, Oregon. The person asked that BlackParentSpeaks attend a Grant High school meeting which would be held in the school library. Without inquiring as to the reason for the request, BlackParentSpeaks agreed to be present at the meeting.
Upon entering the library of Grant High School, BlackParentSpeaks quickly took note of the hundreds of people present. The crowd ‘appeared’ to be overwhelmingly – if not totally — ‘White’. BlackParentSpeaks also inventoried the ‘cold’ stares she received upon entering the Grant library. After a couple of ‘failed’ attempts to initiate introductory talk with folk present in the library, BlackParentSpeaks retreated to a chair, near the front of the library, and sat down alone as she observed and waited for the meeting to begin.
Grant High School Principal Dr. Myra Rose addressed the ‘White’ gathering with her resolve to ‘begin accepting and including’ Black students in the school’s opportunities…. Dr. Rose said that ‘she and the White community of Grant’ had heretofore purposely and intentionally excluded and damaged Grant’s Black students. Dr. Rose alluded to ‘higher powers’ and being held accountable for the harm she and others had inflicted….
Dr. Rose told the crowd that she had wrestled with the words to speak to them. She said that in the end, she knew that she had to be truthful about the racial harm and damage she had been a part of…. Dr. Rose expressed that she had to change her ways and that Grant’s ‘White community’ had to be truthful and change as well. She spoke about ‘a New Day’….
Near the conclusion of the meeting, Dr. Rose explained her ‘intent’ to begin including Black students in the school’s offerings and opportunities and more.
BlackParentSpeaks listened intently as she recorded the words of Dr. Rose at that initial meeting. I also glanced around at some of the White faces in the library. I both felt and saw extreme anger and ‘hatred’ focused on Grant Principal Myra Rose.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Dr. Rose motioned for me (BlackParentSpeaks) to hang around so that we could talk in private — it was then that I noticed the presence of one other Black face in the library gathering as information. That person and I exchanged ‘pleasantries, etc.’
Grant Principal Myra Rose and I spoke in private and via telephone on multiple occasions following that ‘initial’ library meeting. There were times when Dr. Rose felt torn between doing that which was right and doing that which was wrong. She felt pained and saddened by the ‘hatred’ directed at her by Grant’s ‘White’ community following that library meeting. Dr. Rose expressed that ‘although she was Jewish’ she did not know that the ‘White community’ would react so viciously towards her.
Outcries for Dr.Rose’s removal from Grant were made by both ‘White’ adults and ‘White’ students. The hatred expressed by the ‘White’ community was vile and open. Needless to say, the demands of Grant’s ‘White’ community were met and Dr. Myra Rose was transferred from Grant. Upon learning of the ‘official’ reassignment of Dr. Rose, many ‘Whites’ (including ‘White’ students) expressed their loud delight both within and outside of the school.
Today, there is a Myra Rose Scholarship fund for Grant High School graduates. And, now YOU know at least a part of the ‘rest of the story’….
‘Don’t forget our reparations’.
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We are all works in progress. Do YOU know what time it is?
Undying love for Black people!