Annie Lee Phelps-Richardson
Life-long educator touched countless lives
Mrs. Annie Phelps Richardson reels in the years on her 90th birthday Saturday, with thoughts and images of hundreds of students she has helped through her work in the Baldwin County school system.
Mrs. Richardson touched many lives as a teacher in elementary schools, Central State Hospital and Georgia College & State University, but as her students have grown older, it is she who is touched by their gratitude.
“I don’t remember all the names, but just the little faces that have grown up and their heads have gotten gray,” Richardson said. “They know me more than I know them now, there are so many of them around here.”
In 1938, Mrs. Richardson began teaching at Antioch School in Baldwin County, after graduating Ballard Normal School, Macon, Georgia. Her decision to teach was a natural outgrowth of her love for learning and from growing up in the farmlands dominating the Baldwin County area during that time.
“I was determined to do something other than stay in the country and farm,” Richardson said.
Persuing her educational goals, Mrs. Richardson lived with an aunt in Macon, while attending the Ballard school for nine months a year, as opposed to a seven-month school year, the norm in agrarian Baldwin County.
Upon receiving her diploma, Mrs. Richardson saw few other options for her education and started teaching. She taught at Antioch, Harrisburg and Northside schools, and helped others, while continuing her education at Fort Valley State University and the University of Georgia.
Brown vs. the Board of Education, a changing society and the creation of an exchange program prepared Baldwin County's schools for integration. Mrs. Richardson was one of the first black teachers in integrated classrooms. Integration started with the teachers.
Her passion kept her in the school system for 35 years and upon retirement; she substituted, worked at the Baldwin Board of Registrars Office and participated in many other community activities.
As with others, during her generation, we love and appreciate their dedication and work.
Ninety years young, Mrs. Richardson's work, as you may see, still speaks for her. The Graduate
Happy Birthday 2008.
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