My Educational Journey

In 1961 Charles Sumner High (stately building to the right) was one of the most prestigious high schools in the city of Saint Louis. It had opened in 1875 as the first African- American high school west of the Mississippi. I, who had begun my educational journey in a two-room, weather-worn country schoolhouse, felt privileged to be enrolled in such a beautiful facility of such stature. Sumner High School was as beautiful on June 17, 2017, as it was my first day of school there in August 1961. Even though I attended only my sophomore and junior years, Sumner had a profound effect on my life. My June visit brought back many precious memories of my mentor, school librarian, Mrs. Bernice Stallworth, and Principal George T. Brantley’s opening-day address.

About the Author

Cloteal Adams Fitzpatrick was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on January 29, 1946, and was raised by her grandparents in Senatobia, Mississippi. She received her bachelor of arts degree in Education from Lane College in 1968 and a master’s degree from the University of Memphis with a certification in library science in 1975. She retired as a librarian from the Memphis City Schools in 2008. Cloteal currently serves as director of the O.B. McClinton Foundation, a non-profit organization which she founded in 2011. The purpose of the foundation is to enrich the lives of the residents of Senatobia, Mississippi and the surrounding areas of North Mississippi.

About The Book

Cloteal Fitzpatrick’s Blessed Serenity tells a heart-wrenching and compellingstory of her life and that of her mother, Bernice McClinton. The book covers family history such as her grandfather George running away to become a professional pitcher with the Negro Baseball League, the attempted lynching of her great-grandfather Johnnie, and her great-great grandfather Sargent Kane McClellan’s battle against Civil War general, Nathan Bedford Forrest. All in all, Cloteal provides the reader with a passionate family memoir of love, deep abiding faith, forgiveness, and redemption.