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Descendants of a First Choice School

Descendants of a First Choice School

(p.46) Chapter 2 Descendants of a First Choice School
Raised Up Down Yonder
Angela McMillan Howell
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines the reality of education at Jay Ellis School, a small rural school attended by most of the black youth from Hamilton, Alabama, based on the perspectives of teachers and students and the author’s own observations. It assesses the role of Jay Ellis School—dubbed by locals as the “Last Chance School”—in the lives of young people and within the Hamilton community, with emphasis on issues of race, racism, economic disparity, and public representations of self. Using the voice of one student, Kelly Lawrence, as a backdrop, the chapter explores how the school’s structure and the larger school system educate Hamilton’s youth and affect their identity as well as their life course.

Keywords:   education, Jay Ellis School, Hamilton, Alabama, race, racism, economic disparity, identity, black youth, Kelly Lawrence

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