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by mookygc

African American Representation in Fayette County Publications

February 26, 2013 in 1920s-30s, 1940s-1950s, 1950s-1960s, 1960s-1970s, Social history

Today, I found a copy of a book published by the Fayette County Board of Education in 1955 entitled: “Let’s Go To School”  (pdf link). A very brief book composed primarily of pictures, it appears to have been an informational resource for parents of students. There were several things I found interesting in this book.

The book begins with a quote:

“Your Board of Education believes in your child’s right.”

This book was published at a point in our education history when schools were still mostly segregated. Of over one hundred pictures, only a mere four show an African American student or teacher. I am including these here:

From "Let's Go to School", Fayette County Board of Education

From “Let’s Go to School”, Fayette County Board of Education

From "Let's Go to School", Fayette County Board of Education

From “Let’s Go to School”, Fayette County Board of Education

From "Let's Go to School", Fayette County Board of Education

From “Let’s Go to School”, Fayette County Board of Education

African American students are only shown under the heading of “Sports” and “Music”, and teachers are only shown within a group.

I spent the rest of the afternoon at the library, reading old newspapers and looking at any books and pamphlets I could find that even mentioned African American education in Lexington and Fayette County prior to the 1980s. In 1963, Lexington Schools were still segregated, while Fayette County schools were all integrated but for one exception, Douglass Elementary School, which housed 385 students.

Because Douglass School closed in 1971 following integration, there remains little to no information in one location about the school, which opened in 1929. However, after much digging, I was able to find a variety of pictures and newspaper articles about the school, and received a brief history of its changes over time  from an elementary school to a high school back to an elementary school from the superintendent’s office at Fayette County Public Schools .Now, I just have to put all the pieces together and try to complete a history so that in the future all of this information will be in one place.

by Measha

Can the past repeat itself?

October 15, 2010 in 1960s-1970s

Link to KET video of Audrey Grevious - needs RealPlayerLink to KET video of Audrey Grevious - needs RealPlayerOn October 14 I attended the on this site AASRP Race Dialogues “Sisters in the Struggle” and watched the video focusing on Lexington educator and civil rights activist, Audrey Grevious. It really interested me how she took a stance against segregation. She became president of the local NAACP and decided to change Lexington. It is remarkable how she was able to change the schools, lunch counters, and jobs. She fought for so much change and was able to create it, but as we talked to Valinda Livingston and she stated her situations with racism and even in the early 90s still having situations with segregation among the schools. When Mrs. Livingston stated how the principal called her for advice on how to teach and discipline African American children because they were going to start busing the students it really suprised me. Segregation ending in 1954 with Brown v. Board of Education and to see from her story that Lexington was still going not all the way integrated with their school systems and almost appalled me. Also Mrs. Grevious in her interview was see that things were slowly going back to the past and that she would not like to see that happen, and in some instances from the video and the story from Mrs. Livingston it sees that things are slowly going back to those ways. My question is do you really think history can repeat itself?

by Mary

Lexington and Segregation

October 15, 2010 in 1950s-1960s, Political history

The textbook definition of segregation is “the seperation or isolation of a race, class, or ethnice group by enforced or voluntary residence in a restricted area by barriers to social intercourse by seperate educational facilities, or by other discriminatory means.” [citation needed here]  From the AASRP Race Dialogues “Sisters in the Struggle” talk yesterday I think it is fairly safe to say that Lexington still enables segregation in the community.

 The facilitator, Mrs. Valinda Livingston, was addressing issues with Lexington’s North and South end schools and how there is not much diversity.  The “white ” schools have more resources while the “black” schools are lacking in technology.  This is not what activists from the Civil Rights movement, like Lexington’s former NAACP president Audrey Grevious, would like to see.  It is modern day segregation and not fair for individuals that live in less than ideal socioeconomic conditions.  When Mrs. Livingston was talking about when she was a prinicipal in the 90’s and another principal called her to ask about to deal with those “type” of children (meaning the African American students), that shows a racist mentality that has been imbedded in the community. 

There are studies that show how segregation can affect a child’s self identity and how they perceive others.  An example of one of these studies was the Clark Doll Experiment done in 1939.  This experiment brought in black children to choose between a white or black doll, most chose the white doll to play with.  When the experimenter asked the children which one was the “bad” doll they pointed to the black one.  This shows a direct effect on their self identity. 

One of my professors last year was talking about how his daughter goes to a school that has mainly a white population here in Lexington.  One day she came home and told her father how she was ugly because she did not have white skin and blonde hair and none of the boys would talk to her.  This is a direct effect on African American children and not having a diverse learning environment to find their identity.  It is not fair that the Civil Rights activist endured all of these struggles and Lexington in a way is still stuck in the era of segregation.

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