T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History
School Integration
Christine Bennett by Chelsea Arseneault, 2015.
CHRISTINE BENNETT: We had the little school there, Mossville School. I would say that my sister who was there as a baby, she was one of the first ones in our family . . . Well, she was one of the ones that finished high school there before they integrated the school. By time I got to the . . . I went to the elementary school there and we wind up being integrated when I was in the ninth grade. They wound up moving us to Westlake High. Oh my God. That was horrible. And I laugh and I tell my kids I missed out on my education. My four high school years from ninth grade to twelfth.

I'll never forget the day, why . . . We begged them. “Why couldn't Westlake come to our school? Why were they taking us from our school and bringing us to Westlake?” We didn't have no argument, you know. It was just out. Then after we got to Westlake High and . . . Do I say just really what happened? You want me to say that? [Laughs] When we pulled up on the bus at that school some of the white kids say, "Here come that bus load of niggers." That destroyed us. Because we didn't want to go at first. So then we . . . I had to wind up fighting the whole four years. Going to jail, being kicked out of school, fighting every day because they say, "Y'all not going to come here thinking this is y'alls school because this is not y'alls school. Y'all need to go back where y'all came from."
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This project is a collaboration between the Imperial Calcasieu Museum and LSU Libraries to document the history of Mossville, a historic African American community in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana.
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