Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Mrs. Storey



   Let me tell you where my heart and mind wandered when I read about the murder of George Floyd.

   You can’t avoid a frank discussion of racism in America in the face of this horror. There is no telling yourself we have abandoned this hideous relic of the past, that dust and cobwebs grow on its antiquated surface. 
   Not when the rest of it is so violently displayed, fresh and bitter, in the form of a knee on the neck of a handcuffed man.
   I don’t know what crime George Floyd was charged with. I haven’t investigated it, because nothing he could have done would merit this complete abandonment of human civility. Nothing could possibly counterbalance the sheer brutality of the Minneapolis police officer demonstrating his dominance over his captive, helpless prisoner.

   So, back to where this image leads me: to Annie Storey.
   When Mrs. Storey came to teach my sixth grade class in Weaver, Alabama, she did it at a time when black women didn’t teach white children in small towns. 
   We were kids, oblivious to the challenges she must have faced until we considered them years later.
   She was young and beautiful and so gifted at fascinating children with the solar system and European geography, we were spellbound. She was my favorite teacher. Many of my fellow students felt (and feel) the same.
   We loved her. We search for her to this day. 
   Mrs. Storey wasn’t our African-American teacher. 
   She wasn’t our black teacher. 
   She was our captivating and wonderful teacher, who commanded our respect and admiration every day.

   Annie Storey never said one word about racism, about not judging people by their skin color, about any of the segregationist sentiment that dominated Alabama at the time.
   She walked into our humble classroom every day in her fashionable A-line dresses, smiled at us with the warmth of that sun she showed us on the chart by the blackboard, and taught us we are all the same.
   So many years have passed. I remember her with love and enormous gratitude.
   I've memorialized her in two books with a character, Lily, inspired by her beauty and dignity.
   And I hope wherever she is, Annie Storey didn’t see what just happened in Minneapolis.
   
   It would break her heart.







Love from Delta.

5 comments:

  1. I LOVED ANNIE STOREY!!!! For some reason, I think she is in Jacksonville. I'll see what I can find out. Do you remember her husband's name?

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    1. I’ve tried to find her, and thought you had, too! No idea of her husband’s name. I even called the local school board and tried to get them to dig up old employment info. Nothing.

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    2. Yes, it seems like someone told us she was in Jacksonville. There is an Annie Storey on FB. I am going to message her and see if she is the one and same.

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    3. The Annie Storey I found also listed her church at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Anniston. I messaged them as well. Can I add you to the messages?

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    4. Why not just let me know what you find out? Seems easier. And since I am not notified of messages here, please keep me up to date via email or Messenger.

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