Has Anything Changed for Black Americans?

Parishioners attend the first church service four days

A little girl turns up for Sunday service at the Emanuel African Methodist Church after the shooting incident which killed 9 Black people. People have drawn comparisons between this picture and the one below of little Ruby Bridges who was the first Black American child in 1960 to attend a previously all White school. Ruby was aged 6 at that time and had to undergo a terrifying experience for the simple act of trying to get an education.

This is Ruby’s story:

As soon as Ruby entered the school, white parents pulled their own children out; all the teachers refused to teach while a black child was enrolled. Only one person agreed to teach Ruby and that was Barbara Henry, from Boston, Massachusetts, and for over a year Barbara taught her alone, “as if she were teaching a whole class.”  That first day, Ruby and her adult companions spent the entire day in the principal’s office; the chaos of the school prevented their moving to the classroom until the second day.

On the second day, however, a white student broke the boycott and entered the school when a 34 year old Methodist minister, Lloyd Anderson Foreman, walked his 5 year old daughter Pam through the angry mob, saying, “I simply want the privilege of taking my child to school….” A few days later, other white parents began bringing their children, and the protests began to subside. Every morning, as Ruby walked to school, one woman would threaten to poison her; because of this, the U.S. Marshals dispatched by President Eisenhower, who were overseeing her safety, allowed Ruby to eat only the food that she brought from home. Another woman at the school put a black baby doll in a wooden coffin and protested with it outside the school.

Has anything changed?


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