Ellen Ann Fentress: The Academy Stories
February 18 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Ellen Ann Fentress, a Jackson-based journalist, author, and filmmaker, will hold a panel discussion about her latest project, The Academy Stories. In the 1970s, court-ordered public school desegregation transformed the Deep South’s classrooms, stadiums, and teachers’ lounges into America’s most integrated spaces, at least for a while. The Supreme Court called for an end to the region’s nearly two decades of post-1954 Brown v. Board of Education stonewalling. Racial history shifted in one sweep. Black and white, children and educators, lives changed. Old patterns shattered. The transformation, wrapped in historic moral purpose, affected over 11 million children. In its first three months, The Academy Stories will be publishing first-person accounts from academy alumni of the 1970s and 1980s. (By the 1990s, a number of academies had closed, while others had begun to admit a few black students.) The accounts will stand as primary documents of history; this initial effort is funded by the Mississippi Humanities Council. In future cycles, the project will look at how the Deep South academy movement continues to shape society today.