A heartfelt, unflinching novel about the unexpected effects of school integration in 1960’s Louisiana. This story has striking resonances with the issues our nation currently faces regarding race, unity, and identity.

In this novel, the sudden integration of black schools tests everything that inexperienced white teacher Colleen Rodriquez and black high school football star Frank Woods believe about themselves and justice. The consequences change the course of their lives forever.

The author taught in Louisiana in 1969-70, and the story is based on her experience there.

New Orleans Riverboat 1969

New Orleans Riverboat 1969


About Eileen


Freedom Lessons: Meeting Jim Crow is a fictionalized version of the year I spent teaching in a rural Louisiana town in the late 1960s.

My life's work has been as an advocate for free, appropriate and respectful educational opportunity for all students. 

I am retired after a forty-year career in public education.

Freedom Lessons: Meeting Jim Crow will appeal to readers who enjoy historical fiction and those interested in a broader view of our current civil rights and public school challenges. 

History could guide us if we would only listen. 


"She heard his shout over a rumbling noise that vibrated the metal walls of the trailer. Confused and worried that he was in trouble she threw open the trailer door to find him sitting on a motorcycle with a helmet on his head and one in his hand."

1969 unpacking

"Her resolve to make the best of the situation faded. The inside of the trailer was like an oven with the sun beating down on the metal enclosure. She dropped the box she was carrying and sat as she broke into tears." 

1969 our first home

"Turquoise is a color I like to wear, not live in. We decided not to go to New Orleans for a honeymoon. Instead, we went to Sears to buy an air conditioner."


“Don’t look so shocked,Colleen," Evelyn said. "Some folks think we should be grateful that we have a Negro school: 'Separate but Equal'. My friend had to set up a new classroom in a white school this year and she found out that they store the books in different stockrooms. If they can’t even mix the books, how will they mix the students and the teachers?”
—Freedom Lessons