Etta Freeman ParkHome | Photos | Events | History |
Following graduation from the Decatur Negro High School in 1937, Etta Freeman enrolled at the Alabama State University in Montgomery. After only two years there she qualified as a teacher and gained employment at the Moulton, AL, Rosenwald School. She continued her studies and after two more years she received her B.A. in elementary education from Alabama A&M.
Teacher and community activist frame the many noteworthy achievements her life brought to so many people. In addition to Moulton's Rosenwald School, she also taught at the Cherry Street Elementary School in Decatur, AL. During her 57-years teaching there was an occasion when she had as many as 67 students in a classroom at one time. Following her retirement, she continued to inspire and guide as a substitute teacher for more than twenty years.
Into her ninth decade of life, she volunteered at the Turner Surles Community Resource Center, across the street from the park which bears her name. She also worked as a greeter at the local Wal-Mart, such a distance from her childhood in the segregated South. When she was six months pregnant and traveling home from Moulton, a white bus driver requested she give up her seat in the back to a white passenger. She told the driver she was tired, pregnant and not going anywhere. The white man stood. And this happened more than ten years before Rosa Parks triggered the Montgomery bus boycott.
The spirit and memory of Etta Freeman continues to influence the lives of so many reaching far beyond our City limits, and especially those who visit the beauty and splendor of the park named in her honor.