I think I'm going to have to read A Class of Their Own: Black Teachers in The Segregated South, by Adam Fairclough. I'm not old enough to have attended segregated schools, but my parents did and a few of their teachers were still around during my childhood. And I really could feel the respect that Black teachers and the profession had then in our community. Here are a couple of quotes from the WashPost review that caught my attention:
In 1935, Ambrose Caliver, the highest-ranking black employee in the U.S.
Office of Education, proclaimed, "In the hands of the Negro teacher rests the
destiny of the race."
Fairclough makes clear that the nostalgia of many African Americans since
the 1960s for the Good Old Days of all-black schools is rose-colored. Only
through desegregation could black children hope to attend decently funded public
schools in the South.