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Remembering Miss Margaret Parks

Last week, our editor wrote about a teacher who changed his outlook on the world. A poet who contributes regularly to us this week recalls how a simple correction from her teacher sparked a lifetime of reconsidering the story of the South.

Miss Margaret Parks taught 11th grade American history. Some might say she was a stereotype of a 1950s teacher: unmarried, soft-spoken, a Southern lady.

Other adjectives also describe her: intelligent, realistic, maybe even for the times, progressive. During a lesson on the Civil War, I blurted out a comment now revealing how influenced I was by the time and place of my birth and childhood, just how clueless I was: "I wish the South had won."

Miss Parks waited a beat and in her usual quiet voice said: "No, that would not have been a good outcome." In retrospect, that remark, which I'm recounting over sixty years later, may have been the beginning of my awakening to issues of regionalism, equality, and justice.

Author Profile
Anne Waters Green is a South Carolina-born poet who has spent much of her life in Georgia. She recently returned to Savannah after 15 years in western North Carolina. Her poems have appeared in Kakalak, Great Smokies Review, Christian Feminism Today, Delta Poetry Review, and other journals and anthologies. Kelsey Books published her chapbook Minute Men and Women in 2021.

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