Salter-Saulter Family logo

Good Hope Mississippi


Good Hope
Freeport, IL

Good Hope | Good Hope School | Good Hope Church |
Good Hope Cemetery
| Good Hope Colored Settlement

When I was growing up in the little black settlement of Good Hope Mississippi in 1945 our little two room school house was the backbone of the educational system. The school gave the community children an excellent first through eight grade education. We were taught reading, writing, and arithmetic first, and then science, geography, and literature in the upper grades.

The school was in within walking desistance of most of the students who attended. We either walked or rode to school in wagons.

The school building was located across the road of the settlements only church, Good Hope Baptist Black Settlement Church. The school house was a two room building with grey weathered boarded walls. Located in the center of the building was a pot belly stove, which provided heat during the winter months, sometimes the older boys was let out of class early to split wood for fire the next day. In the corner of the rooms were the teacher's desks.

The little two room school house had no cafeteria, so we all brought our lunch from home. Our lunch sometimes consisted of freshly cook biscuits with homemade peach or pear preserves, and other times we brought cold chicken or what was left over from pervious night's supper. During our lunch period we had time to play games, talk with friends, and visit the out house. The girls had a little shack built behind the school for bathroom facilities, and the boys facilities was a similar shack across the road behind the church.

Holidays were always celebrated in our school. Christmas was the most remembered we decorated the school with holly, ceader, pine cones, and with whatever bright color Christmas paper or cloth, we had. W e had wonderful Christmas program and invited parents friends and relatives, and they all came.

In 1951 when I was eleven years old our little school was closed and was consolidated with the school district in Hickory, Mississippi. Shortly after 1951 my family moved up north to Freeport, Illinois.

An interview with my school mate and cousin
Brooke Pruitt

Brooke was about three grades or so ahead of me in school I choose Brooke for that reason, and because as the saying goes "if you want to know ask Brooke she remembers everything."

Brooke attended Good Hope School between 1942 until it's closing in 1951, she remembers the little two room school as I remembered it to be, however she remembered more details.

Brooke recalls that the two class rooms were separated by a slated wall that hung from the ceiling and was raised every morning as we recited the pledge of allegiance to a flag that hung over the stage in the upper grade class room. Each class room had two small windows in front and back. The windows had glass pane but was protected from the sun by what she call "old fashioned pull up shade". The school had no porch, or a very small porch, that she remembered. She did remember however, a table or stand that stood in front of the school, large enough to hold a barrel that supplied the students with water throughout the day.

Both Brooke and I, remembered our teachers at the little two room school. Salome C. (Chapman) Hayden. Miss Hayden as we all call her was our first teacher. Miss Hayden taught grades one through grade five, and Edna (Hayden) Johnson, (my mother) was the teacher for students grades six through eight. The little school closed before Brooke and I moved to the upper class room, so unlike my older brothers and sisters I did not have the opportunity to have my mother as a teacher. 

My next interview was with the older sister o f Brooke, (Varnell Pruitt) Chapman

Varnell was born in1932 and attended Good Hope School in 1938 at age 6. Varnell remembered her school days in a more personal way she remembers the wonderful times had in the little community school and the life long friends made there. Some of the students she said in her class came to school at different time in the morning, "but we all got out of school at the same time."

She continued "and those of us who took the same route, walked home together, often playing games or teasing one another on the way."

Varnell, now 79 years old very clearly, remembered that at age 6, her first teacher was Exie Johnson.

She also remembered several other teachers, but was not sure of the year in which they taught at Good Hope School. She recalled a Miss Trudie Smith, Frances Chapman, Classie Salter, Ruth Mae Salter and Mary Salter.

She said that most of her teachers were very good; she remembered that if you didn't understand a math problem, the teachers would sit and help you no matter how long it took.

"Our teachers wrote and put on plays several times a year, using the students in the class as the actors."

1945 brought an end to her years in the little school in Good Hope, "that year I became eligible to attend the High school in town". (Hickory Colored High School).

After interviewing Varnell, I interviewed Mary Salter Stamps a former Principle, teacher, and student at 
Good Hope Community School

Mary was born in 1927 and in 1934 attended first grade at Good Hope School at age six.

After 8th grade in 1941 Mary attended high school in Jasper County and graduate high school in 1945, attended 2 years at Jackson Teacher College. After teachers college Mary was hired by the Newton School district as teacher, and principle at Good Hope School with a salary of 60.00 per month.

Mary remembered the teaches desk were on raised platform on each side of the class room There were three or four row of double desk for the students in each class room. She remembered during that time students were grouped according to their achievement levels and according to their development levels and according to their ability.

Mary stated that attending, and teaching in a two class school had is advantages such as knowing everyone, and looking out for one another. The disadvantages were the other classes being taught at different times, making it difficult to concentrate on your own studies. However the students were quiet despite all the different grades levels. And know one was allowed to leave their seat without permission.

Mary was a teacher at Good Hope from 1946 until 1947 and soon after that she moved to Denver, Colorado and continues to reside there, however at age 84 Mary make a pilgrimage to the little Black Community and often as possible.

Clifton Edison age 83, my next interviewee was 
born in 1926 and in 1931 began attending 
Good Hope Colored School (as it was called then.)

"I started in the first grade and finished the eight grade" Clift response when asked if he remembered his teachers "oh I remember some of the teachers, however, mostly by their last names, like Miss Dunlap and Miss Adams he said. He did however; remember the first names of two very special teachers. Maude Lee Edison, his sister, and "Francie Chapman because she was pretty."

He remembered a lot about the little two room school, the boys out house across the road behind the church, he remembers that the water came from a spring on the school property. That the classroom was quiet despite all the different grades in the rooms, he remembers that you didn't get out of your seat without permission. He also remembered that the student's desk when he attended the school from 1931 until 1939 were rough wooden slab bench with table that set two across. Cliff at age 83 explained, with a twinkle in his voice "I didn't mind sitting two across, because that gave me a chance to sit by the girls."

"The sad thing about that he recalled, was most of the girls in the classroom were related to him one way or another.

Clifton stayed on in Good Hope until he was drafted in 1945; he severed his time in WWII.

And after many years of living in other states, Cliff's love for Good Hope brought him back home, this time to stay.

My last alum of the little community school was my
94 year old cousin Brooms Salter and the 
grandson of Filmore Johnson the founder of 
the black settlement of Good Hope.

Broomsy Salter, born in 1913, remembered that up until age eight he attended school in the church building across the road before the schoolhouse was built. He states "the year I was nine the school house was brand new, build by the Chapman, Lemon Chapman and his boys." Cousin Broomsy recalled that his father Isaac Salter as one of the church trustees sold timbers (off the church land) "to pay for building the school Papa duty also as church trustee was to oversee the school's finances."

Cousin Broomsy remembered the early teachers of the school A Miss Norris who he said lived in Chunky. Whose husband brought her 15 miles into Good Hope each day.

Rev. Stephen Tullios was the teacher for the upper class room during that year.

After that he recalled an Emma McElroy from Lawrence. "Miss McElroy taught there until I graduated. I later moved to Meriden at about age 17, and in 1934 I moved to Freeport, I Illinois. Later I was drafted and served in World War II, and to this day he continues "we still own the land Papa farmed way back then."

Good Hope Gallery