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The Beginning and End of John Jefferson High School: Preserving the History of Success Despite Segregation

Nothing—I mean nothing—could stand in the way of achieving my goal of preserving the history of success despite the challenges of segregation at John Jefferson High School. It didn't matter that my resources were very limited. There was a sense of urgency! I believe God chose a "little nobody" like me to preserve this history before it is lost forever. Writing this book was no easy task; however, the research was an amazing experience. In the beginning, some former students were reluctant to talk and to share their few treasured pictures with me. On the other hand, some were excited to share.When I started on this journey, I didn't have a computer. Also, because of arthritis, I would often have to straighten my fingers and continue to write. Pain was ignored; I was on my unstoppable mission. Another challenge I met was dealing with my job. At times, I would get so exhausted that I would have to stop working on the book for a while. When graduates finally opened up, they would talk to me on the telephone for hours. They could not stop talking. An additional problem was limited funds. I had to use paper from my old school and work tablets to handwrite information. Finally, I knew that I would need help with typing and editing, and God blessed me with Mrs. Deanna Issac, Dr. Nanthalia McJamerson, and Dr. Gwendolyn Duhon. I had faith that I could accomplish this task, this mission. Now, the rest is history.

--Phyllis Hogan

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