Holton-Arms School is my Alma Mater. Miss Lurton and Miss Brown were my first mentors, and they were admirable women. I revered them and tried to live a life of which they would have approved.
When I went back to college at 50 to get my BA in psychology, it made me smile to think of how Miss Brown would feel. She would be happy to know I did this at last, late in life. Of course, now I realize that 50 is NOT late to go back to school. But at the time I felt pretty brave.
Truthfully I don’t remember ever discussing race relations with either of these ladies while in school in the last four years of the 1950s. What is known for sure is that they believed in fair play and education for all. A lot of my teenage ideas about working with black people came from the comfortable familiarity and mutual respect between Mildred Brown and Wilton Shorts. She treated him as a trusted friend rather than an employee. This at a time when many of us had no interaction between races.
The reason for this background is that today, the Holton-Arms Newsletter was the first thing I read this morning. The words “Black Alumnae event” jumped out at me. What? Reading further it told me that this was the ‘first-ever’ Reunion Weekend Alumnae of Color Meet & Greet, hosted by the newly formalized Holton-Arms Black Alumnae Group.
I believe that Holton-Arms became integrated more than 50 years ago. That is half a century. WHY? Why now, would you do something to divide the student body into colors? It just seems so irresponsible that no one has pointed out to the student body that they are all one.
If there is a black alumnae group, then there must be a white one. That is only fair. How is that going to help smooth over relations when some polarizing event happens. Have we learned nothing from segregation? Why would you segregate one part of the student body from another?
No one taught this divisiveness in the days when I attended Holton. Integrity was paramount. Being fair was part of that, along with manners. It included a well-rounded education stressing the values on which this country was founded. I wonder if those are still taught? I have not checked, but I fear that some of the faculty teaches victimhood. Miss Brown must be spinning in her grave. She had absolutely no mercy or sympathy for anyone who fancied themselves victims. Do you repeat daily the great motto of the school? “I will find a way or make one. ” I am NOT a Victim.
People must stop talking about color and start acting with good manners, intelligence, and consistency instilled in the school by Mrs. Holton. This continued under the Misses Brown and Lurton and all the teachers I knew at Holton-Arms. It saddens me that so little progress has been made toward the “sisterhood” I keep reading about in the newsletter.
I hope somewhere in that school some people understand the harm that is being done lately by dividing people instead of uniting and including them.
Copyright©. 2019 Bonnie B. Matheson