Breaking In: The Author of a New Era
Kate Stephenson, co-author, book design
In the summer before his freshman year, Wayne Casey could think of nothing but joining the elite rank of athletes at Byrd Prillerman High School. The all-black school was the alma mater of his seven older siblings, and Wayne in the family tradition planned to be the eighth Casey to walk the halls of Byrd High. But something happened. Over 55 years later, still no one can explain or understand how it happened. Jim Crow was still king, even if his legal status had been officially revoked. Everyone simply knew the rules. No niggers allowed. The Supreme Court had ruled two years earlier that segregation in the schools was unlawful and unconstitutional. The order was to desegregate. But no stipulation had been made as to when. The Superintendent of Schools in Raleigh County, West Virginia encouraged his schools to ease into integration with due caution and a lack of haste. But Wayne Casey wondered why everyone seemed to be dragging their feet. So he used his to do what no other black child had ever done in Raleigh County, West Virginia before. He broke the color line.