Who was your first Black teacher?

The question was a simple one: Who was your first Black teacher?

It was posted on Twitter over the weekend; and as many Twitter posts are, it invited everyone who saw it to reply.

My first Black teacher was Mrs. Brown. (Don’t ask me for a first name; those weren’t shared with any students in elementary school!) She was my 3rd grade teacher at Granada Elementary School in Alhambra, CA. And I remember her for one very powerful reason: She invited my mother and me to her house for dinner one night.

I never asked why.

Now, more than 40 years later, I wish I could go back and ask why Mrs. Brown did that. Perhaps it was because that was my first year at that school? Perhaps she and my mom needed to talk about something and wanted to do so away from the school? Perhaps she had all the kids and their parent(s) over for dinner during the year?

I don’t remember what we ate that night or what anyone talked about. If my 8-year-old self remembers correctly, Mrs. Brown had a son who was maybe half my age. He and I must have played some kind of games before or after dinner, but I don’t remember what.

Isn’t it strange how one question can open a flood of memories that had basically been stored away for more than 40 years? And isn’t it just a bit exasperating that I suddenly have a bundle of questions that I can’t answer!

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