Research Reflections

Posted: May 18, 2015 in Welcome
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Throughout this past week, I conducted interviews with alumni of Ned E. Williams, a formally segregated school in a majority African American community in East Texas. I have enjoyed EVERY SINGLE INTERVIEW! I never imagined research being this amazing nor did I expect to hear some of the incredible stories about their school experience in that ‘turbulent period.’
Each interview has started with the same question: When I say the name Ned E. Williams what memory comes to your mind, and why? Oh, the stories I have heard. Some expected, MOST, unwarranted but helpful none the less.
I had the opportunity to listen to people tell their stories and TRUST ME enough to share them, which is something that I don’t take for granted at all. From childhood crushes to scars gained from pulling well water, I heard it all (LOL).
While most of the interviewees attended segregated schools, NOT ONE discussed or even alluded to that memory. They discussed the poor conditions of the facility but mainly focused on the incredible quality of education SO SO much. There was a sense of PRIDE that is ineffable in every interview; I’m sure I’ll carry these stories with me forever.
I have three more interviews before I return for my thesis period. I am dreading this process a bit, but what better way find the strength and encouragement to write than by listening to the people who paved the way for the opportunities that I am presently afforded. That alone is more than enough!
I couldn’t imagine Longview, Texas without those individuals that experienced the plight of segregation but became the loadstars of excellence in our community.
This experience is teaching me so much, but I believe that I am most inspired by the silver-lining that you can and must find in your darkest moment.
Don’t ask God: “Why are you doing this?” Instead ask, “What do you want me to learn in and from this moment?”
There’s so much wisdom in the minds of our elders, I am grateful that I have THIS opportunity in THIS moment to LEARN from the EXPERIENCED as opposed to LEARNING from EXPERIENCE.

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