Crittenden County

March 21, 1949

Life magazine carried an article with accompanying photographs dealing with the conditions of black education in West Memphis (Crittenden County), which spent an average of $144.51 for each white child’s education and $19.51 for the education of each black child. Photographs revealed the crowded conditions in the black school, which had been partially destroyed by fire. Some 310 students and their five teachers were squeezed into five rooms of the gutted building, and 370 more were packed into a one-room church. On September 27, 1949, a bond issue for a new black school was defeated. Meanwhile, a new $300,000 facility for 900 white children had just opened. Not until 1971 did the first black students graduate from Marion High School. (more)