Narratives are personal stories that help enrich the reader’s understanding of a time period, person, place, or event. These are first-person views of history taken from personal recollections, memoirs, diaries, and oral histories.

Information included in this section is not fact checked by the Encyclopedia staff. The author of the Narrative is entirely responsible for its content.

I was a student at Van Buren High School, graduating in 1960. The so-called strike in 1958 involved a handful of white students, 10–15.
MOST of us attended classes. The strike was blown out of proportion by Time and Life magazines. There was more disruption for students in 1957 when the Arkansas National Guard was activated and then federalized, causing some of the older students who were members the Guard to be late to class because they had to report to the armory before class.
In Sept. 1958, the strikers circled the high school in their cars with signs and shouts, performing for the TV and magazine reporters. Most of us stood in line awaiting the first bell and went to class after it rang. As for the strikers, those of us non-strikers considered them non-students who were looking for a reason to not attend classes.
Douglas Elementary school in Van Buren was a disgrace. Lincoln High School in Fort Smith was not much better. The students from those schools were not prepared for classes in Van Buren High School due to the lower level expected in the black schools. Their difficulty was due to lack of preparation, not their ability.
One of my classmates was the president of the student body and stood up to the reporters. She was/is one of my friends—a hero for her action in stopping the so-called strike.
Everett Kelly and J .J. Izard were personal friends during all of this. Mr. Izard was my father’s boss. Upon graduation in 1960, Mr. Izard handed me my diploma and later a personal gift. I knew the Norwood family outside of school; Mrs. Norwood cleaned our home. Many times I picked her up at her home and returned her after her work.

Dr. S. M. Condren
Tahlequah, OK