Made With Love

Teachers during era of segregation found inspiration in each other

Sorting and discarding materials from the garage has been a project of mine this year. If you’re married, you know that this can be a perilous act, as the thing you decide to throw out is the very thing that your spouse thinks you should have kept.

Just a few days prior to reading about the planned celebration of the 50 years of unification of the South Carolina Education and Palmetto Education associations, I happened upon two journals from the Palmetto Education Association, which was the professional organization for teachers who taught in all-black schools during segregation.

I took a seat and read for a bit. The journals brought back memories, and warm feelings came over me as I recognized many of the people whose names and photos appeared on the pages.

After taking this jaunt down memory lane, I ran it by my husband, who was also an educator, and we decided we didn’t need to keep the journals any longer.

I can remember the struggle of the merger between the two associations, though. Whenever there is a merger, each group loses something, and this one was no different. The converged group became THE South Carolina Education Association.

While the Palmetto Education Association lost its name in the process, the pride of being an educator was never erased for those who had been members of the group.

Each year teachers were required to attend the state teachers’ meeting in Columbia. Each teacher carried a card that had to be stamped as proof of attendance. Columbia Township Auditorium was the meeting place with the best place of parking at Cate-McLaurin Tire Store. Teachers became the students on that day.

The merger of the two professional groups was to be marked with a celebration in Columbia. The theme was “Stronger Together.” My friends Hattie Brown, Beverly Dore, Maggie McFadden and I were excited as the date drew closer.

We left early for the event so that McFadden and I could meet up with other educators who were affected by the struggle that was the merger.

Being a member of the professional organization allowed teachers to share experiences and help each other find solutions. It allowed us to strive for higher heights in the most noble profession there is.

We Palmetto Education Association teachers were all too familiar with the obstacles faced by teachers in segregated schools at that time. We had old books, very few supplies and the dual system of “separate but equal” to contend with. These barriers to learning needed to be erased and so many of us worked so hard to make things better for our students.

Beaufort County has been well-represented in the in state association leadership with Robert Moore, Roy Biddle, Joseph Sherman and Joyce Abel serving as presidents. Bernadette Hampton, a native of Burton, takes her place of leadership serving as the president of South Carolina Education Association

Though many of the teaching methods have changed, an educator’s mission has not. Teachers still seek to challenge the minds of students in South Carolina. It is this mission that bonds us as educators.

There weren’t many places for us to eat when we went to Columbia for our association meetings. Columbia’s Alben, Pig Trail Inn, College Inn, Read Street Grill were the only dining places available. But because I am a native of Columbia, there was always a place at Mama’s table, and this is where my co-workers and I would go when we were in town.

Mama was a part of this mutual admiration society. She was proud to have a daughter who was a third generation teacher, just as I was proud to have her as my mama.

Today I share her salad recipes.

Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition.

Layered Vegetable Salad

1 small head lettuce, broken into pieces

1 small head cauliflower, thinly sliced

1 medium Bermuda onion, thinly sliced

1 pound bacon, fried and crisp

1 pint mayonnaise

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 Parmesan cheese

Layer first 3 ingredients in large bowl. Place crisp bacon over vegetables. Mix mayonnaise, sugar and cheese together. Spread over bacon and vegetables. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight. Toss just before serving.

Frozen Pineapple Cranberry Salad

1 1/2 cup Dole crushed pineapple, drained

1 cup dairy sour cream

1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

1 1-pound can whole cranberry sauce

Combine all ingredients and spoon into an 7-inch square pan. Freeze for several hours or overnight. To serve, cut in squares or slices and arrange on crisp greens.

Linguine Salad

2 cucumbers

1 tomato

1 pound linguine, cooked

1/2 jar Salad Supreme

8-ounce jar Italian dressing

Cut cucumbers and tomato in small pieces. Mix all ingredients together while linguine is still warm. Then chill and serve.