Speaker's Bureau

How Brown v Board of Education Began in South Carolina

In 1946, Levi and Hammett Pearson asked for a public school bus for Black children who walked nine miles to school in Summerton, SC. The request could have gotten the Pearsons killed and did lead to gunfire into their homes, debts called in, farm seed and equipment refused. But the brothers wanted a better life for their children’s children. In the 1940s White children rode on school buses to brick schools with desks, blackboards, and books, indoor heat, water fountains, and toilets. Black children walked to cabins with benches and discarded textbooks, to shacks with oil-drum heat, toted-in well water, and outdoor privies. Following the Pearsons’ lead, parents dared petition for the end of “separate but equal schools,” and Briggs v. Elliott and four other challenges to school segregation became Brown v. Board of Education, ending the legality of public school segregation.

Let’s talk about education: What role does it play in your life? Do we refuse to educate all citizens?

With photos.

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