A Matter of Black and White: The Autobiography of Ada Lois by Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher

By Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher

A question of Black and White is the non-public tale of an Oklahoma lady whose struggle to realize an schooling shaped a vital episode within the civil rights move. Born in Chickasha, Oklahoma, of folks just one new release faraway from slavery, Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher grew to become the plaintiff in a landmark U.S. superb courtroom case that laid the root for the eventual desegregation of faculties (and a lot else) in America.A topic of Black and White resounds with virtually common human themes-childhood, university, associates, colleagues, group, and a love that lasted an entire life.

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Though the drafters removed the offending passage, the first bill passed by the legislature, Senate Bill 1, reenacted Jim Crow. It took only twelve days to enact. The original definition of "white" and "colored" remained in the constitution, in Article 23: "Wherever in this Constitution and laws of this state, the word or words, 'colored' or 'colored race,' 'negro' or 'negro race,' are used, the same shall be con- Page xiii strued to mean or apply to all persons of African descent. " Racial tension reached its zenith in 1921 in Tulsa.

Charles Haskell, the drafter who later became Oklahoma's first governor, worked strenuously for what he called "race distinctions" such as segregation and preventing or limiting black suffrage. "Alfalfa Bill" Murray, the president and chief architect of the 190607 Constitutional Convention, was, at the time of that convention, remarkably generous in his discourse compared to his later rhetoric. The black citizen "must be taught in the line of his own sphere," Murray intoned. And blacks were quite capable "as porters, bootblacks and barbers, and [in] many lines of agriculture'' (Levy, ''Before Brown," Extensions [Fall 1994], 10).

Page xi Foreword Robert Henry What does a legend look like? Do heroines and heroes show their heroism? Do they look like Greek gods, or perhaps Gilbert Stuart portraits? Are they ordinary people, or are they more like purple cows? Do they know their cosmic task from childhood, or is greatness thrust upon them? Do they prepare diligently from youth, or do they play at school, love gingerbread, and make funny rhymes like everyday kids? I don't know the answers to these questions or the recipe for heroism.

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