Go and Come Again

Segregation, Tolerance, and Reflection: A Four-Generation African-American Educational Struggle

by Jerry L. Jones, EdD

Go and Come Again
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Go and Come Again

Segregation, Tolerance, and Reflection: A Four-Generation African-American Educational Struggle

by Jerry L. Jones, EdD

Published Sep 22, 2020
166 Pages
Genre: YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION / Biography & Autobiography / Cultural, Ethnic & Regional



 

Book Details

Go and Come Again begins with a focus on the history and culture of a small town in Southwest Virginia during the era of segregated schools and the concurrent Jim Crow mind-set. The first chapters analyze the various struggles of the author's family, selected teachers and students, and the transitions of the early 1960s. Later chapters detail the author's experiences at a historically black college as well as his work experiences as a high school teacher, a professor at a community college, and a professor at a small, church-affiliated liberal arts college which is located near his birthplace. Additionally, the author chronicles his own personal journey-from his early days as the younger son of a single mother who struggled financially to his later profile as author, local politician, church musician, lay speaker, community leader, and educator.

Even though the Supreme Court decision of 1954, Brown v. the Board of Education, ruled that racially separate school systems should be ended, it was not until 1965 that this happened in Washington County, Virginia, the county where Jerry Jones was born. Moreover, the shortcomings of public school education for African Americans existed for generations. In his book, Go and Come Again, Jones details the public school experiences of his grandmother's generation, his mother's generation, and his own generation.

As a teacher in the fast-changing area of computer literacy, the author devotes significant attention to his desire for graduate study and other opportunities for continuing education. He also analyzes the factors which have contributed to the many successes of Southwest Virginia blacks who left their hometown areas for education and employment.

The extent to which one struggles to care for an elderly parent is a topic which brings an array of emotions to the surface. With no other siblings to assist in his mother's final years, Jones had the challenge of being the sole caregiver until her death at age 93-an event which still casts a shadow on his own perceptions of love and family. Delicately, he outlines the key events of that time in his life and his belief that his own life continues to have meaning and that living alone should not be feared.

 

About the Author

Jerry L. Jones, EdD

An African American born in 1947 in the Southwest Virginia small town of Glade Spring, Dr. Jerry L. Jones attended public schools in the era of segregation. He holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Virginia State University and a doctoral degree from Virginia Tech. Starting his teaching career as a high school teacher in Baltimore in 1969, he became a professor at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond in 1974. Returning to his hometown in 2001 to take care of his elderly mother, Jones is currently a professor at Emory & Henry College, which is located only four miles from the Glade Spring home where he grew up and that has been in his family since 1870. With nearly sixty years in education, both as a student and as a teacher, Jones provides a unique prospective about society, education, and minority status in America—past and present. When Jerry Jones’s mother, Mary Waugh, finished the seventh grade in the 1920s, there was no high school for black children in Washington County, Virginia. She and one of her brothers were homeschooled during the eighth grade by a paid teacher. Later, Mary and her brother were sent to Morristown Junior College in Tennessee which—at that point in time—had a high school department. The author details four generations of black public school education in his hometown, from his greatgrandfather (a former slave) to his own education, which involved being bused about 60 miles a day to and from high school. With nearly fifty years as a teacher, Jones writes his book as a tribute to the struggles that many African Americans faced in their pursuit of an education. The stories about his family may not be overly unique. However, these stories are representative of the time and of the geographic location. The education of Negro children in the early years of the twentieth century in most Southern school districts was not a priority. This was a case of separate and unequal—a situation which took decades and federal intervention to remedy. Hesitant to call his book autobiographical, Jones does detail many of his life experiences—tracing his journey from the segregated public schools of Virginia, to his college experiences at the historically black Virginia State University, and to his teaching career in Baltimore, Richmond, and Emory. Additionally, he analyzes his own shortcomings and reflects on his personal traits and strengths.