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As the morning wore on, brown-eyed kids berated their blue-eyed classmates. Elliott," a brown-eyed student said as a blue-eyed student got an arithmetic problem wrong. Elliott, how come xex the teacher if you've got blue eyes? Tfacher she could answer, another boy piped up: She described to her colleagues what she'd done, remarking how several of her slower kids with brown eyes had transformed themselves into teache leaders of the class. Withdrawn brown-eyed kids were suddenly outgoing, some beaming with the widest smiles she had ever seen on them. She asked the other teachers what they were doing to bring news of the King assassination into their classrooms.
The answer, in a word, was nothing. Back in the classroom, Elliott's experiment had taken on a life of its own. A smart blue-eyed girl who had never had problems with multiplication tables started making mistakes. At recess, three brown-eyed girls ganged up on her. The blue-eyed girl apologized. On Monday, Elliott reversed the exercise, and the brown-eyed kids were told how shifty, dumb and lazy theywere. Later, it would occur to Elliott that the blueys were much less nasty than the brown-eyed kids had been, perhaps because the blue-eyed kids had felt the sting of being ostracized and didn't want to inflict it on their former tormentors.
When the exercise ended, some of the kids hugged, some cried. Elliott reminded them that the reason for the lesson was the King assassination, and she asked them to write down what they had learned. Typical of their responses was that of Debbie Hughes, who reported that "the people in Mrs. Elliott's room who had brown eyes got to discriminate against the people who had blue eyes.
I have brown eyes. I felt like hitting them if I wanted to. I got to Fkrst five minutes extra of recess. That's what it feels like when you're discriminated against. He printed them under the headline "How Discrimination Twacher. That might techer been the end of it, but a month later, Elliott teavher, Johnny Carson called her. On the "Tonight Show" Carson broke the ice by spoofing Elliott's rural roots. She chatted about the experiment, and before she knew it was whisked off the stage. Hundreds of viewers wrote letters saying Elliott's work appalled them. It's cruel to white children and will cause them great psychological damage.
Looking back, I think part of the problem was that, like the residents of other small midwestern towns I've covered, many in Riceville felt that calling attention to oneself was poor manners, and that Elliott had shone a bright light not just on herself but on Riceville; people all over the United States would think Riceville was full of bigots. Some residents were furious. When Elliott walked into the teachers' lounge the next Monday, several teachers got up and walked out. When she went downtown to do errands, she heard whispers.
She and her husband, Darald Elliott, then a grocer, have four children, and they, too, felt a backlash. Their year-old daughter, Mary, came home from school one day in tears, sobbing that her sixth-grade classmates had surrounded her in the school hallway and taunted her by saying her mother would soon be sleeping with black men. Brian, the Elliotts' oldest son, got beaten up at school, and Jane called the ringleader's mother. When Sarah, the Elliotts' oldest daughter, went to the girls' bathroom in junior high, she came out of a stall to see a message scrawled in red lipstick on the mirror: She would conduct the exercise for the nine more years she taught the third grade, and the next eight years she taught seventh and eighth graders before giving up teaching in Riceville, inlargely to conduct the eye-color exercise for groups outside the school.
ABC broadcast a documentary about her work. Department of Education and the Postal Service. She has spoken at more than colleges and universities. She has appeared on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" five times.
The fourth aex five children, Elliott was born on her family's farm in Riceville Frstand was delivered by her Irish-American father himself. She was 10 before the farmhouse had running water and electricity. She attended a oneroom rural schoolhouse. Today, at 72, Elliott, who has short white hair, a penetrating gaze and no-nonsense demeanor, shows no signs of slowing. She and Darald split their time between a converted schoolhouse in Osage, Iowa, a town 18 miles from Riceville, and a home near Riverside, California. Elliott's friends and family say she's tenacious, and has always had a reformer's zeal.
It brings up immediate anger and hatred.
I was very pondered, overwhelmed in setting at the sight of all these horrific prints and activities of people blocking up the objectives of Detroit, for what really. She was a barred girl and the other pursuits were became by her success.
We walked into the principal's office at RicevilleElementary School, Elliott's old haunt. The secretary on duty looked up, startled, as if she had just seen a ghost. It was typical of Elliott's blunt style—no "Good morning," no small talk. The secretary said the south side of the building was closed, something about waxing the hallways. Elliott, how are you? Now 45, she had been in Elliott's third grade class in You've still got that same sweet smile. And you'll always have it. For this drama about these two years in the lives of Stephen and me. The film is dominated by the brilliant physical impression First jayne mrs sex teacher Cummerbatch gives of Stephen.
It brought back that period so very strongly. I was always extremely determined but I was also quite timid. So in that sense many of the things that appear in the film are not quite historically accurate. He was just 21 when they met, trying to find a subject to direct his brilliant mathematical intelligence towards. Almost immediately after they got together he discovered that he was gravely ill, and not long after that, that he had only a couple of years at best to live. That Stephen was going to do his physics, and we were going to raise a wonderful family and have a nice house and live happily every after. Also, we had this very strong sense at the time that our generation lived anyway under this most awful nuclear cloud - that with a four-minute warning the world itself could likely end.
That made us feel above all that we had to do our bit, that we had to follow an idealistic course in life. That may seem naive now, but that was exactly the spirit in which Stephen and I set out in the Sixties - to make the most of whatever gifts were given us. My belief was that if you gave all of yourself, to what you believed was right, then that would be enough. I can remember vividly the euphoric sense we had about us, that we were doing something exceptional. Given Hawking's almost saintly public profile it is odd to have to face this portrait of him. Most difficult perhaps is the assertion that he could not begin to come to terms with his illness.
It was as if it did not exist. I thought that to coerce him into taking these measures would have been too cruel. One of the great battles was getting Stephen to use a wheelchair. I'd be going out with Stephen on one arm, carrying the baby in the other, and the toddler running alongside. Well it was hopeless because the toddler would run off and I would be unable to chase. So that kind of thing made life rather impossible. She says she is not sure about that and mentions instead recent research which suggests that 'it seems motor neurone disease does far more damage to the parts of the brain that concern emotional reactions and conscience and personality than was ever thought, in some patients anyway'.
Things, for her, went from bad to worse after the publication of A Brief History of Time. Does she still feel it was like that? It was not enough to be a wife. So I did a PhD in medieval Spanish poetry.