The Bridge Between is a compilation of experiences, perceptions and insights those of us who graduated from one of the five Waterloo, IA, high schools from 1963-1973, and how they affected our adult lives.
The stories which have been shared about growing up and attending school in a city segregated by a river are a microcosm of what was happening in American as the civil rights movement came of age and changes were taking hold.
In order for people who don’t know Waterloo, there are three visual aids which show the elementary and junior high schools which fed into the high schools and their locations in the town. Changes, and which one or ones are used and where are all dependent on three things: 1) my decision about where each would be most effective for the reader; 2) feedback from my editors; 3) your feedback as readers, some of whom lived these stories.
Here are the two major aids. I’d appreciate any and all feedback about their effectiveness in explaining the educational pathways in the school system. There is explanatory information for each in the chapter text. I” provide background information in this blog so you’re familiar with the context as you evaluate and provide feedback.
This is the master spreadsheet, which provided the basis for the visual aids, but which probably won’t be used unless it’s in an appendix. With the 1964 consolidation of the Waterloo, East Waterloo Township and Orange Consolidated systems, and then the closing of Orange High and the opening of Central in 1972, the last year of the TBB decade, it’s a little tricky to make sure that the school pathways are correct. The biggest challenge has been nailing dates and pathways down, especially for the Orange schools.
You may have seen some of my questions on the Facebook group, The Bridge Between.
This is probably the easiest graphic to understand. It provides the reader a context when reading someone’s memories about one of the elementary or junior high schools (in the day) s/he attended.
The book is about high school, but our high school lives were influenced by the elementary and junior high schools we attended. Especially in terms of which ones were 99% black and which were white. Those data are explained elsewhere.
This is the most complicated, but arguably the most important, of the visual aids. And it will be the most difficult to reproduce in the book.
It clearly shows the separation created by the Cedar River and, as the percentage of black student data for the different schools are presented, it will support an understanding of where the perception that you couldn’t have attended East High if you were white. And, yes, that was a perception shared by a number of the people with whom I’ve had the great good fortune to talk.
The key is a challenge. Is it understandable?
I added arrows showing where students at each of the elementary schools went to junior high and where the junior high students went to high school. Too many arrows. I’ve backed down to arrows from the junior high feeder schools to the high schools, but am 99% sure they’ll be taken out as well. Feedback?
District maps for school boundaries during years don’t exist. I’ve been able to create maps from archival data in the state archives in Des Moines, newspaper accounts and some data the Waterloo schools admin office and the library research staff have graciously provided. But I’m not comfortable with their accuracy and there is such a thing as too much information.
The drafts of the first three chapters are done and being read by editors.
Chapter 4 1963-66 The Years of Calm Before the Storm focuses on the first of the three distinct eras from 1963-1973 which came out of the conversations.
Thanks again for your interest. And feedback. Trying to keep from getting the horse too far in front of the cart, I’m resisting projecting a publishing date, but — as most of you know — the launch will be in Waterloo . . . hopefully this year.
Be well. Live life. And have a blessed week.