Tuesday, February 3, 2009

50 years

this week marks 50 years since the norfolk public schools ended their state-sanctioned campaign of "massive resistance." rather than integrate, they shut the public schools down in 1958... and didn't reopen until forced to on february 2, 1959.

a lot of the norfolk 17, the first handful of black students who entered the formerly segregated schools, are still in the area and talking about their experiences. the current mayor and governor just apologized on behalf of the city and state.

it just blows my mind, though. as i quickly approach turning 30, fifty's suddenly starting to seem like not-such-a-big number, things that you can look up people to talk about instead of flipping through history books. 51 years ago, black schools and white schools. right here. defended by government.

i guess i shouldn't be so surprised that injustice recently existed in my society -- i mean, it still exists, just not this particular instance of it. still, it happened to strike me this morning as being really pretty unbelievable...

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