Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Some Good News From Katrina
Two Catholic schools in Mississippi, one all-white, the other all-black, have now integrated into one school and one student body:
Two Roman Catholic elementary schools have served Pascagoula for nearly 100 years -- one opened to teach the children and grandchildren of freed slaves, the other across town educating mostly white children. But Hurricane Katrina's winds changed the incidental segregation when St. Peter the Apostle, built in 1907 as an African-American mission, was destroyed. Now blown together, 310 elementary students are integrated at Resurrection Catholic School's campus. "If there is somebody who is now upset because there are more black children, we don't want them," said Laura Murray, a mother at Resurrection, as she helped prepare the water-damaged building for classes. "I don't think there is anybody like that. This community doesn't believe like that." Given St. Peter's dire situation, school officials made the quick decision to get the students back on a regular schedule as soon as possible. All would attend Resurrection. "It's a triumph for the biracial South," said Charles Reagan Wilson, director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. [...] H. Todd Coulter, vice president of the St. Peter parish council, said if parishioners had a choice, they would like to see the school rebuilt, but that may not be realistic. Meanwhile, he said, integrating the children makes financial as well as cultural sense. "There may never have been a Black History Month program at Resurrection school," Coulter said. "Now there will be one. It won't be Black History Month, it will be black history day by day. Their presence will be a great gift to the overall community."Proving once again that it's truly an ill wind that doesn't blow any good. Sometimes it takes a mighty wind to blow in equality.
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