Since she was a child, Freda Andrews knew that she wanted to pursue a career in education. Her experiences at Northside Elementary, alongside her involvement in the Southern Freedom Movement, influenced her desire to carve out spaces to teach Black history and inspire her students to feel empowered to take on life’s challenges. Her grandfather, Hilliard Caldwell, and Floyd McKissick are some of the important figures of her life.
Freda Andrews - On education, teaching, and the Freedom Movement
Freda Andrews - On her experience at Northside (clip)
Freda Andrews: I grew up walking to Northside Elementary School because that’s the mode of transportation in those days. And I would cross a little branch everyday going to Northside, which was 20 minutes from my house, if that much. The only difficulty with that sometimes, the little water would rise up sometimes across the creek, and I would be afraid to cross it, but my older siblings were always there to help me. I grew up in Northside elementary school. I went to that school from grade first, because there was no kindergarten, through sixth grade. And the same people that I grew up with, that I went to school with, were the same people that I graduated with – when I did, finally, in the class of 1965. We did everything together. We walked to school together, we played together, we were in the same classes together. And the thing I admire most about Northside, and Lincoln High, and the schools that we were in, not that they were segregated, but because of the fact that we had caring teachers. Teachers who wanted us to be successful. And they cared about us. The one thing young people don’t realize is that a lot of times now it's more like coming at you to greet, keep moving on. We don’t get personal with our students, and we don’t have time for one another. But in those days, the teachers or the principal lived right in the same community that we grew up in. In fact, my principal, Mr. McDougal, lived right behind me. So he would watch whenever we had parties at my house. He would watch to see our behavior because he was strict on, you know, being great in the public [inaudible]. So I would always be embarrassed the next day when I would be sitting in a classroom, and he would, “Ahem!” on the intercom, “Oh, I just want to throw shoutout to a party that I observed the other night,” and he would go on to tell the whole school about my party. You know, I was like  how well-mannered we were and he would just say that, and it was kind of embarrassing to me, but I learned to get over it because I knew he was, you know, a spy [laughs]. But anyway, as I said, Northside  Elementary School all the way through middle school and through high school. Because you know, we really didn’t have a middle school, it was just you went from grade one through six and then you went on through the other grades. We didn’t call it middle school, we skipped that part.
"We’re writing our own history, thank you!"
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