School Integration…in 1908?

This article made me smile!

Daily Enterprise-Leader (New Iberia) December 19, 1908, Page 6

Whites in Negro School.

Monroe, Dec. 19. – Two Italian children are attending a private negro school with a negro teacher, who says they presented themselves and that she sees no harm in it.

I found another article (New Orleans Times-Picayune, Dec. 19, 1908, Page 16) that states the teacher’s name was Mary Cook. The school was located, “Out in the east end section of the city where the Little Rock and Monroe and the Arkansas Louisiana and Gulf Railroads cross…” I found it listed in the City Directory from 1912 as Cook Private School, 216 Congo Street. I wish we knew the names of the two children! When Mary died in 1923, she had a very complimentary (for the time) obituary in the News-Star (March 12, 1923, Page 3)

Mary A. Cook

Mary A. Cook, (colored) aged 67 years, died at her home, corner Texas and South Ninth street Saturday morning at 12 o’clock, following a two months’ illness.

Funeral services were held this afternoon at 2 o’clock at Zion Hill Baptist church with Rev. H.R. Flynn conducting the service.

Mary Cook’s death marks the passing of one of Monroe’s faithful and reliable colored residents. She has been a resident of this city since the age of four and in that time established a splendid record for herself.

For 53 years she taught in the colored schools and was president of the Tenth District Baptist Association at the time of her death. Three children survive.

I found that Mary Ann Torran Cook was the daughter of John and Tennessee Torran. She married James Cook in Ouachita parish December 12, 1878 and they were the parents of Robert S., Arthur, Bertha and one other who died young.

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