and the desegregation of southern schools
top: a teacher instructs a segregated class of black students at a poorly funded, one-room school in the backwoods of Georgia in 1941.
In the south of the USA not so far ago, African American children couldn’t attend the schools they wanted. Even if there was a school next to their house.
Segregation, or Jim Crow Laws, were implemented after the civil war and the subsequent abolition of slavery. Its slogan or motto was “separate but equal”. Every store, school, zoo or other public spaces included a separation of some sorts.
bottom : Overton Park Zoo, Memphis Tenessee implementing segregation in the 1950's
left: a teacher instructs a segregated class of black students at a poorly funded, one-room school in the backwoods of Georgia in 1941.
Fortunately, some schools for black children were built with money sent by Northern foundations.
right: protests in 1960 in front of Rich's segregated restaurant
"May 1954: Nettie Hunt and her daughter Nickie sit on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, after the high court's ruling in the Brown vs. Board of Education case that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. Bettmann / Corbis
6 year old
Ruby Bridges, This your Time 2010
6 year old
Segregationists protested the attendance of 6-year-old Ruby Bridges outside William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, 1960.
Parents outside William Frantz Elementary School holding a coffin with a black doll as they protest integration, New Orleans, 1960.
The red tomato symbolises the anger and the violence of the protesters. We are also part of this audience.
What would you have done in the same situation?
In this painting, the color yellow represents power :
- the power of the state via the police badges and armbands
- the power of knowledge, symbolised by the school ruler
- the power of religion with the golden wedding ring
Here in the pocket of this man's suit we can make out a letter. It is probably the letter thet president Kennedy wrote that gives them the power to desegregate the school Ruby is supposed to go to.
She has a strong grip : her fist is tighly closed which shows her determination and will.
We don't see the face of the policeman probably because the artist wants to keep the focus on little Ruby but also because military men represent the Governement (which has no face).
We can see the determination of this little girl in her posture and looks. She looks proud, straight up, doesn`t flinch or hesitate and her body language gives the sensation of confidence.
She is walking a bit faster than the policemen - because she is a bit forward - which could mean that she can't wait for things to change and wants to precipitate things.
Normally progress means going eastward : to the right .
Except the americas were conquered westward : first with Chriastopher Columbus then the far west.