We are the Caucasian parents of
a Negro child in Kent, Washington, a community where there are very
few people who are not Caucasian.
In our household for the past 17 years there have always been one
or more non-white children. During this time ours were often the
only children in the school who were not white. Our relationship
with both the community and the school has been predominantly good.
During the 13 years we were foster parents, we had in our home for
varying lengths of time 96 foster children.
Our Negro daughter, Pat, is now 16 and has been our own since she
was six weeks old. She is the youngest of our five children, another
daughter and three sons by blood. All of them attended Kent Meridian
School. Pat started in kindergarten there.
Patty, as we call her, is a wholesome girl with a warm and friendly
personality. She is active, mature and intelligent. We are proud
of her and feel deeply our responsibility as her parents. Our family
believes it should be possible for an individual to live as a person
among people, rather than a Negro among whites. We feel our experience
could be useful to others if they find it an honest source of information. . . .
We frequently meet criticism. People say to us: “You have
no right to do what you have done. In the cause of integration,
you are willing to sacrifice your daughter; for you know you cannot
keep her happy and safe.” We agree we cannot. But we do not
believe she could be happy or safe in she had to stay in a ghetto.
We did not believe she would be happy or safe in the bombed schools
of the South. We do not believe she can be happy or safe until there
is no longer any race discrimination. We do not believe we can be
happy or safe, either, for as many times as armies have swept back
and forth across the world, we who call ourselves Caucasian speak
only in degrees. Korea and Japan have the latest, not the first,