Memories of a Georgia Teacher chronicles the personal and professional life of a principled, resourceful, and deeply religious woman whose career began at a time when state support for primary education was all but nonexistent. Martha Mizell started teaching in 1913 in a one-room, one-teacher school near the Okefenokee Swamp in southeast Georgia. At the time she was barely fifteen, and her formal schooling amounted to seven years. While Puckett offers a valuable perspective on schooling in the twentieth-century rural South, she also captures the essence of daily life in the communities in which she taught. We read of how she sometimes boarded with parents of her pupils, of how teachers, students, and parents joined together in observance of holidays, of the rituals of school openings and closings, and of how schooling managed to continue through the busy growing seasons. Personal details of Puckett's life also emerge, from her relationship with her parents to life at home with her husband and their eight children. Martha Mizell Puckett's career paralleled the transformation of small, informal community school systems into consolidated, government supported, bureaucratic structures. Through Puckett's eyes our own are opened - to hard times, certainly, but also to a time of notable closeness and involvement between schools and their communities.
MARTHA MIZELL PUCKETT (1897-1974) was an educator for most of her life. Son HOYLE B. PUCKETT SR. is retired from the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He is also an emeritus graduate professor of agricultural engineering at the University of Illinois.