Longtime teacher credits Dr. King for changing her life - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Longtime teacher credits Dr. King for changing her life

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Longtime Covington teacher Hattye Yarbrough says her dreams came true because of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Longtime Covington teacher Hattye Yarbrough says her dreams came true because of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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COVINGTON, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Hattye Yarbrough, 92, retired from teaching at Covington High School.

She credits her forty plus years of teaching success to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's March on Washington. 

"One of the students brought a black and white TV and it had rabbit ears on it and students were in and out all day looking at the march," said Yarbrough.

Yarbrough remembers the day when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr delivered those famous words in Washington D.C.

In 1963, Yarbrough was a first year librarian at the all black Frazier High School in Covington.

She says because of Dr. King's dream, she continued to fulfill her dream of getting a Master's in library science at Peabody College of Education on the Vanderbilt Campus.

"I wouldn't have had the audacity to apply for admission to Peabody. I don't think I would have. This was a springboard to other avenues," she says.

Yarbrough taught for 18 years in the classroom before becoming a librarian.

She remembers integration in 1970 and how students reacted to seeing a black woman at the head of the class.

She credits her fellow librarian and friend Mary Neil Shoaf with helping her make the transition.

"I won't forget that there would be people who would say, Ms. Shoaf is the librarian and what do you do? She would say Ms. Yarbrough and I are co-librarians," said Yarbrough.

Yarbrough says Dr. King's march made great strides for African-Americans, but there's still work to be done.

"It's better, and there were changes made, but we still have a long ways to go. We still have roads to travel that have been blocked," said Yarbrough.

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