Monday, May 17, 2010

THIS DAY IN HISTORY: Schools and Integration

On a recent trip to Greenville, SC I posed with "students" at Sterling High School - the first black school in Greenville County.  This memorial sits at the corner where a Woolworth store once stood.  If you read the historical markers below you will see that students at Sterling High held demonstrations that led to changes in racial policies in Greenville, including integrating the Woolworth's lunch counter, seating on buses and other public places.

Cick on the images to better read the story of Sterling High School,
The leaders it nurtured,
and their contributions to civil rights.

On May 17, 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial segregationin public educational facilities was unconstitutional.

But it would take a decade and more for all the states to integrate their school systems. I have a friend (white) who remembers being sent to kindergarten in 1966 at a school that had been for blacks. Kathy tells me her most vivid memory is of the photographers and policemen at the school that morning.

That was just a mile or two from where I live in North Carolina but something similar must have played out at schools across the south in the mid-sixties.

And how many cities have a school similar to Sterling High School where blacks graduated, became the first in their field, or led the local struggle for civil rights?


  1. thanks for posting this and for the great photos. I clicked and read each one. This story is throughout the south isn't it? You know you are coming into my "backyard" with a post like this ! :)

  2. it's good to see this information in your post, i was looking the same but there was not any proper resource, thanx now i have the link which i was looking for my research.

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  3. Your post reminds me of "The Negro Mother" by Langston Hughes. I'll share the first few lines.

    Children, I come back today
    To tell you a story of the long dark way
    That I had to climb, that I had to know
    In order that the race might live and grow.

  4. Carol, I do know this is your backyard in several ways! I thought of you when I was in Greenville.

    Amy thanks for sharing Langston Hughes. Awesome words.

    "Remember my years, heavy with sorrow And make of those years a torch for tomorrow."

    I had to go look this up. Love it.

  5. Thanks for your enthusiasm for your topics--it's contageous.

    Jean Hall

  6. Thanks, Jean! Did you want to be included in the Blue paperback giveaway contest?