Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Black History Month The Good, the Bad & the Beautiful Part 2 A Child Shall Lead Them

photo via  The Problem We All Live With by Norman Rockwell

!963 in America was a defining year in our history. We were on the brink of going to war, the civil rights movement escalated, and the president was murdered. Everyone remembers all the hippie stuff the clothes, the music, the culture shock of free love, but there were many protests and beatings and deaths before the Summer of Love. Some particular areas of this turmoil were southern states.

Segregation of schools was a large issue. The ruling with the Brown vs. The Board of Education was upsetting to many in the south because they did not want integration anywhere. Some children had to be walked into the school with armed guards because of protesters who were threatening harm. It is frightening to think of grown adults attacking children for wanting to go to school. However, those protests went on for the school year. The children kept going and even though they received harsh treatment inside the schools as well they did not give up.

Ruby Bridges was seven years old when she and her mother were escorted to her school in Louisiana by federal marshalls. Norman Rockwell painted a picture depicting her life for the school year titled The Problem We All Live With. Images of children being treated so harshly touched the hearts of many Americans and they sent money and help to support these families.

Gwendolyn Sanders and hundreds of African-American children in Birmingham, Alabama, protested segregation at the height of the civil rights movement. While adults were fighting for cib\vil rights for voting and being able to sit anywhere on a bus or restaurant, the children were fighting too. The kids took to the parks and streets in protest of segregation and the police thought it would be a good idea to use high powered pressure hoses and attack dogs on the children. After thousands of kids being arrested and the news team coverage of the dog/water attacks people around the country took notice and things began to change.

Unfortunately, some innocent children were also the victims of one of the worst hate crimes. The bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. This horrific act took the lives of four innocent young girls and injured 22 other church participants. Addie Mae Collins (14), Cynthia Wesley (14), Carole Robertson (14), and Carol Denise McNair (11) just happened to be on the stairs that a timed explosive device had been placed. This event marked a turning point in America and helped to get the Civil Rights Act passed the following year.

We still have a lot of work to do. It is 2019, and we are still having racial issues and voting rights violations. When will enough be enough?

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