Dr. Hazel Mahone is a lifelong educator. She began as an elementary school teacher in West Virginia shortly after the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling that declared racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional.
She was the only African American at the school where she worked in Sissonville, West Virginia. She drew close scrutiny from the parents of the first- and second-graders she taught. Every day they would stand in the back of her classroom after dropping off their kids, watching to see if she was capable of teaching them before they scooped up their kids up at the end of the day and took them home.
Despite the cold stares directed at her by some of the parents, Mahone persevered, and by the time she was ready to leave Sissonville, she had received so many gifts from parents she could hardly fit them in her car.
Mahone eventually made her way to California and became Sacramento County’s first African American female Superintendent of Schools.
She continues to be a role model for scores of educators and advocates throughout the region, including Sacramento native Alan Rowe, who has the distinction of having a charter school named after him. His mentor, Mahone, couldn't claim the same until just recently. And that’s where we pick up their StoryCorps interview from September of this year.
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