The families survived nevertheless and in 1938 with the assistance of educator Emma Akin, several textbooks were creatd as teaching aides to the black children in segregated Oklahoma. Two of these books are in my own personal library and recently while sharing this informaion on another blog more questions arose for me.
Unlike Dick & Jane the fictional characters from whom several generations learned to read, several children in this rural community learned to read from Johnnie Mae and Floyd, and Clara Bell and Harold. And these were real children whose lives were depicted in real photos in the school reader. Two of the books, Negro Boys & Girls and Gifts are shown here. The children, some members of their families as well as the staff of the Dunbar and Wheatley Schools were reflected in these books.
What is found inside the books is a close up look at the community of children and adults in this small Oklahoma town. The books are a treasure and having two of the four books in my personal library, I thought I would share some of the images on this blog. The names of many who reflected in the books are as follows:
From Negro Boys & Girls
Teacher & Prinicipal: Gretchen P. Johnson, Primary Teacher, & Joe S. Johnson Principal
Children: Clara Bell Birt, Richard Birt, Clara Ever White, Floyd White, Harold Adams, Betty Jean Brown, Rosa Lee Gallaway, Annabelle Richardson, Geraldine Richardson
Parents: Mrs. James White, Mrs. Grechen P. Johnson, Mrs. Clara Brown, and Mr. C.C. McIntosh
It is not known if the parents of any of these children were Dawes Enrollees, but noting by the surnames there may have been a possibility.
Dunbar School Staff: Mr. & Mrs. Joe S. Johnson
Jeanes Teacher Supervisor: Miss Willa Green, Creek County Oklahoma
Children: Clara Bell Birt, Harold Adams, floyd White, Johnnie Mae White, Willie C. Taylor twins Betty and Burnett
The books were published in 1938, and the photos were taken by "That Man Stone Company".
Could some of the children whose faces were used in the book, still be living today?
They would be in their late 70s today. It would be wonderful to find some of them, and to learn more about the experience of these young children and how their lives unfolded in this segregated Oklahoma town.