Cultural history reflects the politics of political chicanery

Derek Joy
Derek Joy

Cultural history reflects the politics of political chicanery

By Derek Joy

Get up on this!

Black History Month winds its way to a close.  Thus ends the prominence of cultural highlights of the history of people of color.

Imagine  Brown v. Board (Kansas) of Education. That landmark case decided by the U. S. Supreme Court.

It was supposed end to segregated public schools in America. No more practice of the premise of “Separate but equal” schools.  hrew a wrench in the works of segregationists.

And presto.  Such thoughts came to mind while attending the Black History Month Program put on by the Booker T. Washington High School Tornadoes Alumni Association.

The interest is simple. Booker T. is Miami Dade County’s oldest high school that was built to educate Black Americans. It was the second oldest high school in the county, opening its doors in 1927. Miami High is the oldest.

Then came the George Washington Carver Hornets, the D. A. Dorsey for Black Americans.

Here’s the kicker. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision came on May 17, 1954. The Mays High Rams, Northwestern High Bulls, which replaced Dorsey, and the North Dade High Thunderbirds all opened as Black American High Schools after that historic Supreme Court decision.

Those schools, even after integration began, often studied from textbooks that were outdated in White schools and passed on.

So, as the BTW Alumni Association proceeded with its program under the theme: “The AppleDoesn’t Fall far From the Tree,” honoring eight offspring of BTW graduates, I pondered.

Sitting next to Janice Maycock, from the BTW class of 1961, put me beside history. You see, Maycock, a long time resident of Atlanta, Ga., in 1967 became the first Black American flight attendant for then Eastern Airlines.

On my right was Paulette Martin, a 1966 graduate and co-chair of the program chaired by Cecilia Lawrence. Martin, being a retired educator/administrator, was a good person to ask a simple question.

How, I asked, are schools today different from schools in the segregation era?

“For one thing, there are integrated staffs and student body,” said Martin. “A lot of the teachers back then lived in the neighborhood. You saw them in the neighborhood, in the grocery stores, in church. The school was central in the community.”

Not so today. Integration ended bussing Black Americans past White schools. Then, bussing became a way to move Black Americans from their communities to White schools.

Magnet schools further ripped the Black American schools and communities, bussing Black American students even further from their neighborhoods, while seldom putting such a transportation burdens on white and Hispanic students.

Now comes a simple point to ponder.

The BTW Alumni Association, with their Black History Month Program, as well as previous programs honoring “Unsung Heroes,” served noticed to the alumni associations of the other Black American high schools. Flat out kicked butts and took names.

Consequently, wouldn’t it be a constructive challenge against discrimination and other second class status, if these six landmark Black American high schools unite their alumni associations?

That would indeed send a powerful message to the powers that be in education, business and politics.


About Carma Henry 20568 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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