Presentation title:

Volume 1: Little Rock-55 Years later: Crisis at Central High

John T. Taylor and Marcelle Bessman, Florida State College at Jacksonville

Abstract: On September 25, 2007 the nation revisited Little Rock Central High School 50 years later.  Again next September 2012 the nation will again revisit Little Rock for the 55th year celebration/gala for the beginning of integration in the high schools in the South. FSCJ North Campus Professor, John Taylor, was there in 1957. Only recently he began telling his story during Black History Month through video clips today, yesterday, and the Hollywood movie versions, publications by the Little Rock Nine, his and other web sites, and personal keepsakes. At 16 he learned education is a privilege.

Full Description: When asked why he likes teaching and going to school everyday, John Taylor states: “When you lose your health, you understand what you have taken for granted. When they take school from you, you realize the value of education, that education is a privilege and should not be taken for granted or wasted.” The weekend of August 31, 1957, John Taylor’s father was driving the presenter from Alexandria, Louisiana to his new home in Little Rock, Arkansas. He had never been to Little Rock. He was registered to begin school on September 3rd as a junior at Little Rock Central High School. He knew no one and had left all his friends behind in Alexandria, Louisiana. He knew not what this year would do to the rest of my life. This year is one that is documented in the history books. He was there! He went through it! He had no idea the turmoil that would follow in his new city. The presenter will tell the story from the memories of a 16 year old high school junior, who at 17 would become one of 3665 high school students in September 1958 to have no school to attend. He became a forced high school drop-out his senior year and has ever since been a member of the “Lost Class of 59”. To this day, despite three college degrees, John Taylor does not have a high school diploma, nor a GED. He tells his story through video clips today, yesterday, and the Hollywood movie versions; publications; web sites; and personal keepsakes.

Tuesday February 21, 2012 FSCJ North Campus E-235 11:30-12:30