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A New Day in the Delta: Inventing School Desegregation As You Go (Paperback)
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Explores Mississippi’s school desegregation from the viewpoint of a white teacher
A New Day in the Delta is a fresh and appealing memoir of the experience of a young white college graduate in need of a job as the Vietnam War reached its zenith. David Beckwith applied and was accepted for a teaching position in the Mississippi Delta in the summer of 1969. Although it seemed to him a bit strange that he was accepted so quickly for this job while his other applications went nowhere, he was grateful for the opportunity. Beckwith reported for work to learn that he was to be assigned to an all-black school as the first step in Mississippi’s long-deferred school desegregation.
The nation and Mississippi alike were being transformed by war and evolving racial relations, and Beckwith found himself on the cutting edge of the transformation of American education and society in one of the most resistant (and poor) corners of the country. Beckwith’s revealing and often amusing story of the year of mutual incomprehension between an inexperienced white teacher and a classroom full of black children who had had minimal contact with any whites. This is history as it was experienced by those who were thrust into another sort of “front line.”
About the Author
David W. Beckwith retired as a Senior Vice President from Morgan Stanley after forty years in the business. He is coauthor of the Will and Betsy Black adventure series. He currently writes a syndicated book review column and is adjunct finance professor for multiple colleges. He resides in Little Torch Key, Florida.
“Beckwith’s accurate account of his experience will be valuable to the history of this time. This work is an interesting account, and Beckwith writes well. A New Day in the Delta makes a significant and interesting contribution to the history of desegregation in Mississippi’s public education system.”—Andrew P. Mullins Jr., Executive Assistant to the Chancellor and Associate Professor of Education, University of Mississippi
“ . . . Beckwith’s A New Day in the Delta . . . give(s) pause to consider his capability for turning back time to provide us with such an expressive take on local history. To the extend his ‘new’ day strikes a familiar semblance with the often overwhelming challenges faced by novice teachers related to classroom management, student discipline, and facilitation of meaningful student learning experiences, we can learn important lessons about the nature of schools and teachers’ work.”
—The Southern Register
“An honest account of one white teacher’s experiences during the crisis of school integration. A New Day in the Delta is well written, and the author uses humor to good effect. It makes a valuable contribution for anyone trying to understand this time in history.”—Charles C. Bolton, Professor of History, University of North Carolina-Greensboro