Dorothy Counts during an assembly at Charlotte's Harry Harding High School (1957). She was the first person to attempt to integrate the school, but her parents removed her a week later as local officials said they could not guarantee her safety. [923 x 600]

Dorothy Counts during an assembly at Charlotte's Harry Harding High School (1957). She was the first person to attempt to integrate the school, but her parents removed her a week later as local officials said they could not guarantee her safety. [923 x 600]

God, this picture makes me feel angry. Her expression says it all.

If there's any consolation to take from this, it's that the idiots in the background will be forever memorialized as nothing more than grinning, dumbfuck clowns. She'll just keep getting more dignified as time goes on. Those guys? Not so much.

By no means am i justifying their actions but my question is sincerely this: Are you certain that if you grew up in that boy's situation in that time period with the same adult influences and peers that you wouldnt behave the same way? Very easy to judge after the fact and 60 years later...

This was one of the highschools in my district growing up. Funny thing is, it's primarily a Black/Latino school now

No, the white families moved out to the suburbs instead of uptown

White flight. When schools got integrated, white families (who could afford to) booked it.

Oh, absolutely. I'd be right in there, jeering with the rest if I didn't know any better. Hopefully, when I'm old and gray though, I'd see that picture again and feel some regret about how stupid I was as a kid. Maybe make some public attempt at apology/reconciliation if I hadn't already.

People don't necessarily stay assholes forever. I'm pretty sure that, years later, this angry lady became friends with the girl she was pictured hurling abuse at.

Oh, absolutely. I'd be right in there, jeering with the rest if I didn't know any better. Hopefully, when I'm old and gray though, I'd see that picture again and feel some regret about how stupid I was as a kid. Maybe make some public attempt at apology/reconciliation if I hadn't already.

People don't necessarily stay assholes forever. I'm pretty sure that, years later, became friends with the girl she was pictured hurling abuse at.

I've had the privilege of meeting this woman and hearing her speak. You might read about how she was removed from the school but the story coming straight from her in her small, measured, and graceful voice is equal parts tragic and horrifying. She tells of how she made friends with a girl who was attacked and intimidated into turning on her, how the parents commanded their kids to spit on her and throw things at her, and how she walked to school with spit dripping off of her dress. Ultimately, her brother picked her up and someone threw a brick through the back glass of his car. She agreed with her family that the danger spread to her family and she couldn't let her family be harmed. If you get the chance to hear her speak, do so.

Edit: sorry for the run on sentence, I'm on mobile and trying to type this quickly. Wanted to fix formatting.

And thus racism was preserved for another generation.

Is it because all the white kids go to private school?

You're really asking why cops weren't defending a black girl during the 50s?

I mean, check out some of the videos of what cops are up to with blacks even today and you're answer will be pretty clear.

Heh, half these kids are probably still alive and voting today. Takes a long time to stamp this kind of mindset out.

Except the South has the most racially integrated schools in the country. Whereas NYC has the most segregated.

At West Charlotte High -- a predominantly African American school her granddaughter recently graduated from -- she says the lack of resources is disturbing. "At the beginning of the school year, they would go for weeks without books, for weeks without enough chairs for everyone in the classroom," she says. "When I heard about that I thought, Lord, this brings back memories."

Un-fucking-believable. Well, in reality, I believe it, but it that doesn't make it any less disgraceful.

Not in this case.  

They were racist assholes.

They were racist assholes.

I'd like to find that grinning twat in the background and ask him if he is real proud of himself.

There was a recent This American Life Episode about a large group of black children being transferred to a white school. In the episode they play recording from an assembly where parents had the chance to comment on the situation- this mindset is alive and well. I grew up in the area so I knew it was a pretty racist place but I didn't expect that people would be so open about it.

http://www.charlottemagazine.com/Charlotte-Magazine/August-2010/Where-are-They-Now/Dorothy-Counts/

Integration took a pretty long time after the laws were put into place. From what I've read mid to late 70s seems like a good estimate of when the highest levels of integration were achieved. Then, thanks mostly to racism, white families fled for the suburbs, created new school districts and in away re-segregated the schools. The two most recent episodes of This American Life have done a pretty good job of exposing how this has effected schooling in America and what our segregated school systems look like today. Worth a listen.

Which one?

Well hopefully this time it was about the best way to prepare a Cobb salad, or hair-rollers or pecan pie or something and not... y'know.

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/562/the-problem-we-all-live-with

Reading your comment, makes me think that you would exactly behave the same way.

She so looks so pretty with all the care she put into looking sharp for a day of school, and all the dumb hicks just ruined it. So sad the feelings some people have had to endure.

...yay?

As far as I know they reconciled and became friends before having another falling out

Thanks to the power of clever zoning and zoning laws, systematically forging a communal and social/economic divide.

1957, if those boys in the pic were 16 at the time, they would have been born in 1941 and are now 74 years old - the demographic with the highest voting percentage today.

The guy in the light blazer on the far right is clearly a teacher or parent. No wonder all the other students were acting like a-holes when adults were encouraging them. These pictures make me really sad.

Life Racism finds a way :3

where did u grow up? because europe is racist as fuck too mate..

My wife graduated from there and the kids I teach wind up sent there. Nothing's changing for the "urban" schools in CMS. The schools that are given funds wind up being mysteriously "re-zoned".

Not everyone on Reddit is an American and familiar with Jim Crowe era policies

I was hopeful. Thanks for the evidence to prove me wrong.

I don't have a thick enough skin to do what she did.

The latest This American Life tells the story of a St. Louis school district that was inadvertently integrated in 2013 when a mostly black district lost its accreditation, allowing the students to transfer to a mostly white suburban district.

The show has a disturbing scene at a town hall at the receiving district, where parents basically came up one after the other and said that if you let all these poor black kids in, they'll stab all our kids and destroy the school. There was a strong current of anger, fear, and barely hidden racism. (Again, this was 2013.)

When the first bussed students arrived, though, they found the school cheerleaders chanting welcome slogans. Apparently enough teachers were appalled by the way the parents were acting that they set out to make sure the new kids were greeted warmly.

Image the courage it took for this young girl to do what she did. We owe her, the Little Rock 9, and many other unsung heroes of the Civil Rights Movement a huge debt of gratitude. And I say this as a deep rooted Southern White man.

Because we are creatures define by society... it's naive and asinine to think you would think the same way being raised in another time and culture.

That is not a picture of Dorothy Counts. That is a picture of Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Massery during the integration in Little Rock, Arkansas. They actually have an interesting history together that NPR covered a few years ago.

Right there with the crowds.

I don't think that anyone, for one second, and with any certainty what so ever, can say "I would have done this... " or "I would have said this... If I grew up in that era." The fact of the matter is you wouldn't be you. What makes you you is the environment you grew up in, and your genetics. You can't be 2010's you in 1956. It's nonsensical. It's as if to say "if I wasn't me, I'm certain I would've been me".

I understand the resistance to the thought that we could have ever been like them. I also hope I wouldn't have been that way. But that's the most I can do: hope. And I think most of us would like to think that we would have never taken part in the systemic racism that we see when we look back on history. Statistically speaking, it's actually more likely that the majority of us would have been like the very people we despise today. But the truth is you can never know. There is no way of telling one way or the other on which side of the fence we would have sat.

We've made a lot of progress but, unfortunately, as reddit's endless stream of racist posts and comments continuously remind me, we're not even remotely close to done.

Not saying that everyone completely changed their minds but lots of people had extremistic/close minded views during school right? When we were 15 yo a friend said that he was considering joining Golden Dawn (neo-nazistic organisation in Greece) and said that interracial marriage should be banned.

Years passed and now he believes that Golden Dawn are fascistic asholes and he supports gay marriage and gay rights (Greece is kinda homophobic when compared to the rest of Europe).

The one leaning in just behind her left shoulder. Also the guy about 4 across in the 3rd row. This is presuming they were laughing at her, which seems reasonable given the context

I just can't get my head about the concept that having a black student in a school was such a problem for them (perhaps because I did not grow up in the USA)

JFK had to call in the National Guard to get the governor of Alabama(who was blocking the door personally) to let two black students into the school.

Edit: I meant to the University of Alabama, not this specific school.

Man, in Europe we had riots because black people had the audacity to live here.

Internet synchronicity strikes again. A few minutes ago I was reading a PEW study about American student demographics. "Just 17.1% of whites attended a school where minorities made up at least half of all students in 2012. Meanwhile, more than three-quarters of Hispanics and blacks (and six-in-ten Asians) attended these majority-minority schools."

Every time I see a pix like this one it strikes me how incredibly brave these kids were. Just look at those yahoos in back of her. I never would have been that brave, never.

(Greece is kinda homophobic when compared to the rest of Europe).

Compared to western europe. As far as I am concerned, the eastern parts are still pretty homophobic.

White flight and the school board drawing school zones that segregate schools further. In the early 2000's a new high school was built in the northern Mecklenburg region (county where Charlotte is). They drew the line so that when then they had to split the high school, the old school retained over 80% of the minority students.

Not too long after that, another new high school was built in the area and once again, they split it not in a logical fashion, but in a way to keep majority of the minority students at one of the oldest schools in the county (which still has as asbestos issue).

That's because it is a picture of Elizabeth Eckford from the Little Rock 9, not Dorothy Counts.

As seen in the link posted by hiyosilver64:

"she was greeted by a jeering swarm of boys who spat, threw trash, and yelled epithets at her as she entered the building."

This American Life just aired the second of a 2 part series on racial integration in US schools.

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/563/the-problem-we-all-live-with-part-two

Please step outside the circle. :(

And /sub/conservative

we were also exposed to truly good people

exactly. most of these kids would not be so lucky....

That kid in the background is a prime candidate for /sub/punchablefaces.

He's just a kid in that photo. Can't say I blame the kids at the school. It's more to do with the admin and societies attitude at the time.

The crazy part is this is within a lifetime, we have made progress but racism isn't solved in america. It will still take generations of positive change.