A visit with Miss Sadie Kendall Knight

By Staff
MEMORIES Sadie Kendall Knight said her memories of play school days have faded. But the children she cared for haven't forgotten Knight, who will turn 95 this week. Photo by Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Editor's note: The Meridian Star received dozens of calls, letters and e-mails after a column titled, "Remembering Miss Sadie," appeared in last Sunday's edition. We visited Miss Sadie on Friday, along with a group of her friends, who shared their memories of her.
By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Sept. 2, 2001
Sadie Kendall Knight says she remembers only brief moments of time spent with children in her younger years as a preschool teacher.
But Knight, who will turn 95 this week, made such an impression on her students that they come to visit "Miss Sadie" 60 years later.
She visited with some former students Friday at her home at Beverly HealthCare-Broadmoor, cradling a "dangle doll" she made decades ago.
The doll, like a dozen or so others hanging in her room, is worn and faded, unlike Miss Sadie's blue eyes, which still sparkle when she looks at them.
Former students remember Miss Sadie creating marionettes to entertain the children at her school across the street from Highland Park's Dentzel Carousel.
Miss Sadie had learned to make the marionettes at a Work Progress Administration meeting during Franklin Roosevelt's term as president, Edwards said.
Miss Sadie's way
Edwards first came to Miss Sadie's school in 1936, but her father removed her from the school after a short time because "he thought it was too dangerous."
While Miss Sadie is largely remembered for the dangle dolls, Elsie Logan, a friend of 40 years, said there is much more to the gray-haired lady than meets the eye.
Community spirit
Miss Sadie married after college, but her husband died early in the marriage, friends said. She never had children and never remarried. Instead, she committed her life to her work.
While she was known for her love of children and animals, and was rarely seen without either, she also did volunteer work for Meals on Wheels and Headstart.
Some scoffed at her for being the only white member of the local NAACP and for her activism in the Civil Rights' Movement. Other cheered her unconventional ideas in child education.
Over the generations
That educational philosophy is exactly why Dottie and Jimmy LeLaurin placed their three children in Miss Sadie's care.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for the Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3236, or e-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.