Beatrice Hunter

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I attended elementary school in Lynchburg, Virginia during the early fifties. In the fifth grade, someone taught us that we were being taught in a school that we should be ashamed of, Yoder Elementary. Part of this was supposedly due to the name, “Yoder got the odor”. It would be many years later than I learned the history of my school. After Reconstruction, and long before integration, Jacob Yoder, a Pennsylavania Quaker was sent to Lynchburg to teach the newly freed “coloreds” by the Freedmen’s Bureau. Mr Yoder made it his mission to teach the Negros, even spending money out of his pay for supplies the State wouldn’t give him. At times teaching in rooms, shantys and his own basement. The black citizens of the town fell in love with Jacob Yoder and when he died, they performed a funeral procession in honor of the man that had given so much of himself to them. I read about him in “Jacob Yoder, Fire of Liberty in Their Eyes”, a book worth the read. Thank you Jacob Yoder.

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