Walking into the school building was like entering a time machine and traveling far, far back in time. We were at Leland High School. The dusty, brick building was hot and humid with windows propped open letting the muggy Mississippi breeze through. Sweet, like the smell of flowers, the breeze cut through the thick, damp air of the school.
Along the hallway hung endless frames of the graduating classes. The evolution of race and segregation was clear as day. As I walked down the hallway, I walked backwards through time. Less and less black students’ faces peered back at me through the framed glass until suddenly, the title read “Graduating Class of 1969” and only one black student existed.
Eventually, I found my way into the restroom. As I entered the dark, brick, square of a room, the faucet was dripping, slow and steady. Immediately, in an act of heroism I reach to turn off the sink, you know, to save water. I turned the handle the wrong direction and in the flash of a second, warm, brown water gushed into the sink. Splashing onto my white v-neck that I planned so meticulously. Brown water?
I wrecked my brain. Have I ever seen brown water before? Not coming out of a faucet, that’s for sure. The faucet leaked, even when I turned it off, and there was nothing to be done about it. I left with brown droplets of water still lining the sink. This truly is a different world but it’s a world centered around community and community centers around the school.
This, is truly a beautiful concept.