Herman Whitehead

Herman Whitehead

Herman Z. Whitehead is a retired educator in the Birmingham Public Schools, where he served for 27 years as Teacher, Coach, and Assistant Principal. Mr. Whitehead relocated to Atlanta, Georgia in 1989, went back to the classroom, and ENJOYED 20 additional years as a teacher. He now resides in Fayetteville, Georgia.

The school where I taught punished students for marching

In the spring of 1963, I was just completing my first year as a teacher in the Birmingham School System. During that year, I saw my career threatened as nearly ALL of the students at Ullman High (and other schools in the system) were arrested for demonstrating, jailed, and subsequently expelled from school. As a teacher, I was required to EXPEL most of my students.

The Birmingham schools were still segregated and our school was, of course, all African American. After the administration expelled most of the students, the next step was to lay off the teachers, as there were very few students left in the schools. Fortunately (for me and the students), a Federal court overturned the expulsions, and ordered the students back into the schools. (more…)