Thelma Mothershed Wair was a junior when she enrolled at Central High. She continued her education during the “The Lost Year,” by attending summer school in St. Louis, Missouri, and taking correspondence courses. Her diploma from Central High was sent to her by mail.
Wair graduated from Southern Illinois University at Cabondale in 1964 with a bachelors degree in home economics. She later earned a Master of Science degree in Guidance and Counseling Education. She taught in the East St. Louis school system for twenty-eight years. The East St. Louis chapter of the Top Ladies of Distinction and the early childhood/pre-kindergarten staff of District 189 honored her as an Outstanding Role Model. She retired from teaching in 1994.
Wair has also devoted her time to the American Red Cross Shelter for the homeless, where she taught survival skills to women.
As an Educator
“I was determined to treat my kids equally,” she said. “I taught home economics. I taught white kids and helped them and graded them fairly.”
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Beals, Melba Pattillo. Warriors Don’t Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High. New York: Washington Square Books, 1994.
Counts, Will. A Life is More Than a Moment. Indiana University Press: Bloomington and Indianapolis, 1999.
Journey to Little Rock: The Untold Story of Minnijean Brown Trickey. Dir. Rob Thompson. North East Productions, 2002. DVD.
LaNier, Carlotta Walls, and Lisa Frazier Page. A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School. New York: One World/Ballantine, 2009.
Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site Visitor Center. Little Rock, Arkansas. http://www.nps.gov/chsc/ (accessed June 16, 2012).
National Park Service, Central High School National Historic Site. The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Retrieved June 5, 2012, from http://encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=723
Roberts, Terrence. July 7, 2008. “Dr. Terrence Roberts of the Little Rock Nine,” Facing History and Ourselves. Retrieved from http://www.facing.org/about/who/profiles/dr-terrence-roberts.
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The Ernest Green Story. Disney Educational Productions, 2005. DVD.