The 1970’s brought change in the form of integration in public schools, thus ended her tenure as the Coordinator of the Elementary Department.
Upon the closing of Randolph County Training School by a Federal Court Order, she penned the “farewell” exhortation to the school, which was published in the Randolph Leader.
Roanoke City Schools, compelled by a court order, reluctantly assigned her to Handley Middle School, where she was relegated to teaching in a down-stairs basement classroom, which she shared with long-time colleague, Mrs. Ruby Pinkston. This had to be a very demeaning experience for both of these proud women. But, with an unbelievable measure of both grace and dignity they endured this degrading treatment, and did their jobs the best they could under the discomforting racially biased climate that pervaded the education system in that day.
At the same time, her husband, Wilkie was venturing into the funeral home business, having opened Clark Funeral Home.
Her final years in Education were uneventful, and we dare say, quite disappointing, because integration put a damper on the former enthusiasm she had once had for education. Being black and having to relinquish her former place of importance in the domain of elementary education, being forced to share a classroom, and being placed out of her teaching field was the exhorbitant price many black teachers at that time, were forced to pay for integration.
After 36 years as one of Randolph County’s finest educators, she retired in 1974, due to health problems.
Though plagued with chronic health problems, her retirement was nevertheless active. She spent much of her time helping with budgeting for the funeral home, editing funeral programs, and assisting Wilkie Clark in every way possible, to make Clark Funeral Home a success.
Moreover aside from being Wilkie Clark’s “silent” but forceful business partner she continued to be a strong and vocal advocate for the education of African American students and their parents in Randolph County. For the more than 30-plus years that Wilkie Clark served as the President of Randolph County’s NAACP, she, too was right there, serving alongside him and exploiting the power of both her superior intellect as well as her pen, to be the voice of African American citizens throughout Randolph County.
From time to time, her fiery and opinionated “letters-to-the-editor” which appeared in the local newspaper, captured the attention of the majority powers that be, and not only drew them in, but changed hearts, minds, and influenced numerous advances for black citizens in the city of Roanoke, as well as throughout the county.
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