Memories compiled into book
The book, Learning Together at Last, is being given to the Manila Public Library by Wanda Whitney Fincher. Mrs. Fincher is the daughter of the late Woodroe and Billie Whitney of Manila.
Fincher grew up in the Black Water Community as did both of her parents. Both Whitneys were great basketball players on the Black Water High School teams. They continued the love of basketball as they traveled to watch their daughters, Maxine Whitney Stegall and Wanda, shine on the court.
After Wanda's sixth grade year at Black Water, the family moved to the Rector area. Later the family returned to their new home on Olympia Street in Manila.
Wanda graduated from Manila High School with the Class of 1957. During her senior year, she (under the direction of her sponsor, J.L. Bollinger) was editor of The Lions Echo. She was editor of the school paper and received the journalism award during her junior year. She was a member of the Lady Lions basketball team and played well under her coach, L.E. Mobley.
While Wanda was in college, her parents moved to Mississippi. After several years, they returned to Manila where they were able to enjoy again the Manila basketball games. Mr. Whitney drove the bus for the teams, and Mrs. Whitney worked for The Town Crier.
Wanda received a BSBA degree from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville in 1961, and at the same time she received a marriage proposal from James (Jimmy) Fincher of Prescott.
After years of accounting work, she decided to change to teaching to be able to help more children and to be with her own children -- Dee, Jo Beth, and Kenny. She earned an MSE degree from Ouachita Baptist University in 1977. She taught 22 years in Cale and Prescott.
The Finchers are still living in Prescott where she remains active in all phases of education as she supports her grandchildren -- Steven, Jamie, Shelly Beth, Dusty, Keaton, and Kaylee -- in all of their academic and sports activities.
She is the elected director for Area IV of the Arkansas Retired Teachers Association. She was invited to a meeting of educators at the Pete Parks Center for Regional Studies at Ouachita Baptist University. Each of those attending was asked to write about memories of desegregation in Arkansas Public Schools. The resulting essays make up the book, Learning Together at Last.
Fincher was pleased to give a copy of the book to the Manila Public Library in memory of her parents.
Willie Whitney, Mrs. Fincher's aunt, presented the book to the Jane Roth, Manila librarian.
Ms. Roth expressed her appreciation for the gift.