New Book Gathers Oral Histories of Forced Integration at Jackson High School

Lines Were Drawn: Remembering Court-Ordered Integration at a Mississippi High School looks at a group of Mississippi teenagers whose entire high school experience, beginning in 1969, took place under federal court-ordered racial integration. Through oral histories and other research, this group memoir considers how the students, despite their markedly different backgrounds, shared a common experience that greatly influences their present interactions and views of the world—sometimes in surprising ways.

The editors, all three proud members of Murrah High School's Class of 1973, and more than fifty students and teachers address the reality of forced desegregation in Jackson public schools from a unique perspective—that of the faculty and students who experienced it and made it work, however briefly. 45 years later, readers are able to can reflect on the admirable courage of those confused but committed students and their teachers

This unique book is fascinating treasure trove of accounts of the events arising out of the massive desegregation of as remembered and recorded by many of the students, teachers, and parents who were directly involved in that tumultuous experience. Lines Were Drawn tries to capture the few years in which enough people were so willing to do something about racial division that they sacrificed immediate expectations to give integration a true chance.

This period recognizes a rare moment when the political will almost caught up with the determination of the federal courts to finally do something about race. Because of that collision of circumstances, southerners of both races assembled in the public schools and made integration work by coming together, and this book seeks to capture those experiences for subsequent generations.

The editors will be at Lemuria Books in Jackson on Thursday, February 25 at 5:00 p.m. to read and sign copies of the book. They will be joined by their classmates who will also be available to answer questions and talk about their experiences. 

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TEENA F. HORN is a wife, mother, dentist, small business owner, and farmer in rural Mississippi. ALAN HUFFMAN is a freelance journalist and author of five other nonfiction books including Mississippi in Africa: The Saga of the Slaves of Prospect Hill Plantation and Their Legacy in Liberia and Ten Point: Deer Camp in the Mississippi Delta, both published by UPM. JOHN GRIFFIN JONES is a trial lawyer, author, and father. He is the interviewer/editor of Mississippi Writers Talking and Mississippi Writers Talking II, both published by UPM, as well as numerous law-related publications.