Pretlow, Alice

Alice Pretlow was born November 21, 1956.  She grew up in Batesville, Mississippi in the 1960s, and was among the first of her generation to enter desegregated schools in that state in 1964.  One of eight children, she grew up on a farm, where she learned how to work hard.  Her parents were committed to the emerging civil rights movement, fighting for their right to vote and for the promise of a better Mississippi for their children.  Alice and her siblings witnessed some of the difficult moments of postwar Mississippi, including the lynchings of Emmett Till and Scwhermer, Chaney and Goodman, but they also saw the strength and resolve of their parents and community as they fought for voting rights and their vision of America during Mississippi’s  “Freedom Summer”.  In 1964 Alice began to attend an integrated school, when she was in 4th Grade; she remembers it as a year of isolation and intimidation, especially on the school bus.  Alice is one of the silent heroes of the civil rights movement, one of the many who lived during the time and by her actions made change happen.  Alice and all of her siblings lived through this time, going on to university and building lives, families and careers.  Alice joined Mr. Masters’ American History 11 class via zoom in May 2021, and we thank her for her time and insights.