Sanderson questioned her motives for wanting her son to attend Daniels Junior High School. Averting the difficult task of trying to explain the humiliating impact of racial stigma and exclusion to someone who wouldn’t see her point anyway, she emphasized the inconvenience and unfairness inherent in Oberlin students having to catch a city bus, and pay the fare to ride all the way across town to the segregated J.W. Ligon Junior-Senior High School, when there was an almost new school right in the neighborhood, Daniels having opened its doors for the Fall term just one year earlier. The daily journey for the Oberlin children involved an early morning pick-up on Oberlin Road, a ride to a downtown transfer point, the boarding of another city bus to travel to the section of town where Ligon was located, disembarking, and then walking about a block to the high school.

Sanderson tried unsuccessfully to persuade Mrs. Holt to withdraw her application. He suggested a compromise or trade-off. In exchange for her withdrawal of the application, he would arrange free city bus transportation for the Oberlin students. He endeavored to persuade her to sign an agreement indicating satisfaction with that arrangement. She informed him that free transportation would be fine, but she refused to sign any papers and further informed him that free transportation would not settle the matter.

The Holt v. City of Raleigh School Board case was ultimately decided in favor of the school board on a legal technicality closely linked to two pieces of North Carolina legislation specifically crafted to prevent school integration -- the 1955 North Carolina Pupil Assignment Act, and the Pearsall Plan.

Adapted from an essay submitted with historical marker application by Joseph Holt

Image: The Holt Family