Editor, The Commercial:
I am a citizen of Pine Bluff and I have lived here off and on over a period of several years. My last entry was nine years ago. My wife came to Pine Bluff only two years ago from Detroit, Michigan. I have traveled over three-fourths of the world. I am a graduate of A.M and N. and attended Maryland University, University of North Dakota, Auburn, University and University of Central Arkansas.
I was drafted in 1951 in Little Rock, Arkansas, and served in the United States Army in North Korea in the “Iron Triangle.” After being separated from service, I went to the Veterans Administration to take advantage of my educational benefits. It was there I was asked what I wanted to major in. I replied Architecture. It was then replied that I could not enter in that field. The only thing I could enter was education.
Because of my color, I was denied that educational opportunity. Taught in Pine Bluff and retired in Little Rock systems. I also did construction in both places. Moved to Michigan and decided to move back here. I found Pine Bluff dying and in lack of growth abilities. There are several reasons for this problem. The major is education. There are three school districts in the confines of this neighborhood when there should only be one.
All of your schools are preparatory schools that teach courses for college bound students, which upon completion offer none of the skills, technicians and occupations that our present day society demands. These are the occupations that attract industry to communities.
There are over nine-hundred apprenticeships in the Department of Labor that are available to any and all communities that seek their help and aid.
My wife insists that we move from Pine Bluff because it lacks so many essential commodities that are commonplace in locations smaller than here. Please take this advice and do something to keep your city from dying.
Jack L. Gilbert,