This Month in Black History:
The Integration of Public Schools
It took roughly 100 years after the abolition of slavery for this country to realize "separate but equal" was nothing more than an unfair and unjust provision that stunted the growth of the ripe minds of African-American youth. Though Brown v. Board of Education overturned the Supreme Court's Plessy v. Ferguson ruling, backlash from White Americans caused the African-American community to band together and at times sacrifice their safety for a law that should have been made many decades before. This month, Sweet Blackberry would like to recognize the bravery of the Little Rock Nine and pay respect to the families of the four little girls who lost their lives in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. These are just two instances surrounding the enforcement of public school integration. If you have a story regarding public school integration you would like to share with Sweet Blackberry, contact us on Facebook. We would be honored to share your story with our community.
The Little Rock Nine
Children today will never have to endure the hardship and blatant racism many children had to face when public schools around the country were forced to integrate. After the 1954 Supreme Court ruling declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional, many public school systems fought against it. In fact, in September 1957 President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent Federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas to escort nine Black students who were now enrolled at Central High School to class after Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus called in the state National Guard to bar the Black students from entering the school.
We would like to recognize the families of Minnijean Brown, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Thelma Mothershed, Melba Patillo, Gloria Ray, Terrence Roberts, Jefferson Thomas and Carlotta Walls for their tremendous support of these brave individuals who made a difference in the lives of the many children that followed them.
Remembering Four Little Girls
On September 15, 1963 the lives of Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Welsey, Carole Robertson and Carole Denise were stolen in an act of White supremacist terrorism at the African-American 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Members of the Klu Klux Klan planted dynamite attached to a timing device beneath the front steps of the church which went off as five children (Collins' little sister Sarah survived but lost her right eye in the explosion) were in the basement bathroom changing into their choir robes. This was the third bombing in 11 days after a Federal court order mandated the integration of Alabama's school system.
Both of these historical events in American history played a pivotal role in waking up the public and showing them the unnecessary, hateful and trying times many Black children endured due to discrimination, segregation and racism. We hope that you continue to let your children know that Black history is American history and for many, the chance at an equal education will continue to be something we fight for.
- To read more about the Little Rock Nine, click here.
- To read more about the Birmingham Church bombing, click here.