“I learned from the history of black schools that there was a very good solid beginning from black people,” she said. She said the black community recognized the need for education. Bridges remembers working as a servant in the home of O. Max Gardner. “One morning,” she said, “I heard Gov. Gardner coming down the staircase.” She said he asked her where the other servants were and then told her he planned to donate some land for a new school site adjacent to his property. That school, no longer standing, makes up just part of what’s profiled in the book series. Gardner also donated land for the first black cemetery and ended up paying the full tuition and fees for Ezra to attend and graduate from Columbia University. “The Governor believed that education was the key for blacks to move beyond segregation and the lack of equal treatment,” said Bridges.