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When I talk about the impact of segregation and legal white supremacy on our schools, some people roll their eyes. Some people think I hate white people because they wonder can't see how history STILL impacts us personally and as a country.

Or why I can't get over it

A thread.
I grew up in a little town called Hartsville, SC. I often mention that I was homeschooled but I only recently found out why when I interviewed her for a book I'm working on.

She said: "A black person’s humanity can never be fully realized in the presence of whiteness"
I fucking love that quote.

She also grew up in that town. I've told that story before but my grandparents ended up there when a lynch mob basically chased them out of town.

All my aunts and uncle went to the local black high school when it was segregated.
But my mom didn't.

Everyone thinks their hometown high school was a "good school" even when it is shitty. But for some reason, my grandparents knew. So they shipped my mom off to Boylan Haven Mather, an all-black boarding school in Camden SC.
At the time, there were only three high schools in the entire state, black or white, with an A+ rating. Mather was one of them. (Side note: The school's most famous alumnus is probably Jim Clyburn)

She never talked about that school.
See, the school had ALL WHITE teachers. Meanwhile, back at home, her sisters & brothers got to go to a school with black teachers.

Plush she was younger than everyone (she graduated at 16) so just because she was the "smart one"
Remember what I said about "in the presence of whiteness"

Basically, she lived her childhood "in the presence of whiteness."

The only thing she ever talked about from that school was her roomate, who I'm told could really sing.

Everyone said that about my mom's roommate.
A lot of people vouched for her roommate's singing in fact, when the woman went to work as a secretary, they paid her o sing. The woman's husband also vouched.

Oh... The company was Motown and the husband was Stevie Wonder

My mom graduated from high school in the 60s, more than a decade after Brown v. Board of Education ended the "separate but equal" policy.

But there are a few things a lot of people don't know or realize about that.
First of all, Brown v Board wasn't one case. It was FIVE different cases rolled into one because they essentially argued the same thing:

That separate CANNOT be equal.

One of those cases was Briggs v, Elliot, which was the FIRST of the Brown v. Board cases.
In SC, integrated schools were forbidden. In Clarendon Co., all the black kids attended one school. Some had to walk SIXTEEN miles both ways every day. They had to gather wood for the classrooms.

Some had to (yall, this is no lie) ROW ACROSS A STREAM to go to school
So the black parents got together and decided to buy a school bus. But the school bus kept breaking down. So Mr. Briggs, who was a gas station attendant, finally got tired of working on that raggedy-ass bus. So he went to ask the school Superintendant Elliot for a bus
This was a slam dunk. The district had 33 buses. Of course they could give ONE to the black kids.

That motherfucker said no.

Elliot's logic was that ALL THE BLACK PARENTS TOGETHER didn't pay enough taxes to warrant one bus.
A local minister, who also was a teacher, Rev Joe Delaine, was also a local NAACP leader. The lawyer said he'd take the case if he could find 20 parents to join the case. They did, so they sued to equalize the schools.

When they went to court, the judge pulled the lawyer aside
He essentially said: "Bruh, these SC white people are a different breed. You gotta change your strategy and sue these bastards to let your children go to their schools. They ain't gon' EVER a black school be equal. "

The lawyer decided to try it.
That's how Briggs v. Elliott became the FIRST case of the Brown v. Board cases to appear before the SCOTUS.That lawyer turned out to be so good that he argued the Brown case too.

His name was Thurgood Marshall.
When Briggs v Elliott first went to court, white people in SC were so mad that a mob opened fire on Rev. Delaine's parsonage.

But Delaine wasn't THAT kind of Rev. He shot back (in the name of Jesus, of course). The FBI relocated him out of SC & he never returned because...
Until his death, Delaine had a warrant in SC for shooting at a white man.

That was the charge.


"A black person’s humanity can never be fully realized in the presence of whiteness"
After Brown v. Board, SC separate but equal was illegal so SC schools integrated, right?

HAHAHAHAHA, silly. That's not how white supremacy works.

See, if segregation legal for 100 years, where did black people live? In black neighborhoods.
So where were black schools?

In black neighborhoods.

So, in a sense, Brown v Board CEMENTED inferior schools because the state no longer had to make sure black schools were equal. And, because of school zoning, the schools would ALWAYS be separate.
In my hometown, there were two schools, 1 black and one white. Essentially everyone black lived inside the blue line on this drawing and went to the black school.
But the schools in my hometown didn't desegregate in 1954 after Brown passed. They didn't desegregate in 55 or '56.

In fact, they didn't even allow black kids to ATTEND the white school until 1964 when they allowed ONE GUY to go to school there.…
When that guy graduated and NEVER returned to the town.

"A black person’s humanity can never be fully realized in the presence of whiteness"

Now, my mom was the same way. When I tell people I was homeschooled at first, its only a half-truth.
When I was in kindergarten, my mom's two best friends taught at a majority-black school that was really good. So my mom used a church member's address to get me in.

When they found out, they wanted her to enroll me in a school in our neighborhood. She was like: "F*ck that."
I honestly don't think people understand the level of inferiority at these schools.

But here is what I came to talk about.
In 1970 a federal court forced my city them to integrate the schools

I wasn't even born yet. But it changed my life and the course of history
In Jan. 1970, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Darlington County, my school district to integrate

In the town of Lamar, the town was too small to really segregate. Black kids went to the black school and white kids went to the white school. So they REALLY had to do it
The white families in town vowed to basically kill the black kids if they went to school, So the black parents wouldn't send their school unless they had protection.

The sent 150 highway patrolmen to ride with the buses. After all, the town only had 1000 residents
On March 3, 1970, a local white business owner organized a protest. 200 white came out—essentially EVERY ADULT WHITE MAN IN TOWN.

They attacked the buses.

They used ax handles to smash the bus windows.

They fired guns at THE KIDS in the buses…
The Lamar bus riots was one of the worst acts of white supremacist terrorism and it happened essentially on the edge of my mother's town.

But that's not why she believed "a black person..."
There were SIX KIDS on that bus.

Now the curious thing about that is those kids went to school FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR with the children of the parents who tried to murder them FOR GOING TO SCHOOL
But the weird thing is that we think of this as a bygone era.

Remember the guy who left after integrating schools? His father was my barber. He was my mother's age.

Those people raised the kids I went to school with. Do you think those attitudes changed?
Well, I know they didn't.

Here's how I know. They didn't my integrate my city's schools in 1970. They didn't do it by 1980.

It was 1982 before the all-black high school finally closed. But the schools weren't fully integrated.
Again, if I had gone to school, I would have had to attend an elementary school that was vastly inferior to the white schools in the same district.

It was so bad that people KEPT SUING the school district telling them to integrate. It happened again in '85.
Finally, they decided to just scrap zoning altogether. They just mixed everyone up into different schools, which they could've done years ago because the town is literally four square miles.

but for some reason, they resisted
But they finally got it right.

So when I talk about segregated schools, I don't mean Jim Crow era schools. Shit, I don't even mean MY era.

My hometown finally completely desegregated its schools when a district court forced them, for the last time to build equal schools
Last year, at the University of South Carolina, I was asked to speak at the opening for the school's black history collection. Some of the items had never been seen before.
As I looked at the exhibit, I noticed one of them was from one of the ELEMENTARY schools from my hometown
I don't know when this flyer was made, but I am pretty sure it was done in my mother's lifetime.

I know that only a "handful" of the men from the Lamar riots were ever prosecuted
Most of those people went on to raise the people who attended school with me. Think of your grandmother or your grandfather.

How close are your values to theirs?
It has nothing to do with hate, intent or dislike. It is the way this country is STRUCTURED. I honestly believe for many children in America during their formative years:

"A black person’s humanity can never be fully realized in the presence of whiteness"
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