We are taking a closer look at Civil Rights in an attempt to understand just what this term Civil Rights mean. Of course we will take a look at the Famous Montgomery Bus Boycott, however 2 years earlier in Baton Rouge, Louisiana there was another Bus Boycott: largely forgotten, Here is the story of the Baton Rouge bus boycott,
Told by Debbie Elliot from NPR
Fifty years ago in Baton Rouge, La., black citizens banded together to fight the segregated seating system on city buses. They quit riding for eight days, staging what historians believe was the first bus boycott of the budding Civil Rights movement.
The Baton Rouge episode inspired the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott led by the Rev. Martin Luther King, but was largely forgotten. But as NPR’s Debbie Elliott reports, organizers of a commemoration of the original bus boycott this week hope to change that.
Willis Reed, 88, publisher of the Baton Rouge Post, now takes a seat at the front of the bus that stops at the newspaper offices. The World War II veteran says doing that 50 years ago would have meant trouble.
“They’d put me in jail,” he tells Elliott. “And it’s wrong. Definitely wrong.” Reed was the founder of a group challenging segregation on Baton Rouge buses. Reed and a local clergyman, the Rev. T.J. Jemison, were the leaders of the bus boycott, which began June 20, 1953.
In 1953, 80 percent of bus riders were black — and Reed knew that a boycott would send an economic message.
“Historians believe it was one of the first times blacks in the South organized to challenge segregation,” Elliott says. “Yet most people here — even the African-American bus drivers — don’t know about the Baton Rouge bus boycott.”
Jemison, now 84, says he got involved in the boycott 50 years ago after watching buses pass by his church and seeing black people standing in the aisles, not allowed by law to sit down in seats reserved for whites.
“I thought that was just out of order, that was just cruel,” he tells Elliott.
After eight days of boycotting the buses, the Baton Rouge City Council agreed to a compromise that opened all seats — except for the front two, which would be for whites, and the back two, for black riders.
That wasn’t good enough for some protesters, but Jemison called off the boycott anyway, arguing they had achieved what they set out to do.
“When we started we didn’t start to end segregation on buses,” he tells Elliott, “we just started to get seats.”
Marc Sternberg, who is 30 years old and white, grew up in Baton Rouge but found out about the boycott by accident, reading an account of the action in a book about King’s success in Montgomery. Sternberg organized two days of events to highlight the 50-year anniversary of the Baton Rouge boycott.
“Before Dr. King had a dream, before Rosa kept her seat, and before Montgomery took a stand, Baton Rouge played its part,” Sternberg says.
Here are some other links about the 1953 Bus Boycott. http://www.lib.lsu.edu/special/exhibits/boycott/
Here this year so far in addition to learning how to use digital cameras, camcorders, Imovie, garage band, publish podcasts, and many other cool tech applications we have started a discussion I think about what it means to live in a democracy . As the definition says
- Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
- A political or social unit that has such a government.
- The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
- Majority rule.
- The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community
- That said it occurs to me as we look at things we are thankful as Thanksgiving closes in on us here some things come to my mind.
I am thankful for the usual stuff:
- like family,( and my beautiful dogs)
- I am thankful for all of you dare I say it, wonderful students, who annoy me, drive me crazy and yes bring meaning and purpose to my life.
- I am thankful for my friends who I cherish like family (only they annoy me a little less than my family)
- I am thankful for all the “good” teachers I get to work with, who make me want to do a better job. (Not that I am saying all teachers are good)
- I am thankful for my health and my home.
- Finally I am thankful we live in a democracy, where I have a voice, where even people I don’t like or agree with have a voice. Where there is some respect for the the individual in the community and social equality.
Democracy and Civil Rights. When we return from thanksgiving break we are going to look at the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Jim Crow laws, and other areas that are all involved with the concept of democracy and civil rights.
You can either explore the linked pages from Wikipedia or you can blog what you are thankful share some thing you know about Civil rights, or questions you have.
For now I just want to say thank you to, my collegues; fellow teachers, and para-professionals, my bosses, and mostly my students for all their hard work. Happy Thanksgiving.
We are not yet finished posting our podcasts on the Election. Here is another from James in Mac’s class.
Now for the announcement of the memorial on the Washington Mall for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Here is the link to read the TFK article lets read it and leave a comment on their site. Then I want to begin an on-going discussion about civil rights in the month of December. I want to start it but I very much want you, my students to take it and make it your own. We will need to look at just what Civil rights mean in our world in the U.S. and maybe other places. If what I am saying seems vague in a way it is. I don’t want to tell you what I think, but have you do the research and decide what civil rights mean to you.
Anyway we will let the discussion unfold. Here is the link: http://www.timeforkids.com/TFK/news/story/0,6260,1558797,00.html
Just read the story, leave a comment, and begin to think about MLK and just why he deserves the same honor as Washington and Lincoln.
(Listen to this post)So here we are Election Day is over and the rhythm of this week has been interrupted by the following events: Our Mock Election, a day off ( election day) and a half-day parent teacher conferences. So here we are it is Friday and not much writing on the blog except for the pod casts we have made, we have 3 posted with more to come.
Now for some things to reflect on Saturday is Veteran’s day, an important day. What is a veteran? Someone who served in our military (army, navy, air force etc…) Veteran’s day is the day we honor those who risk their lives for our country. Right now as we speak I can guarantee you that somewhere in Iraq American soldiers are in some sought of danger. They may be as young as 18, they may even be killed today. So let’s just take a minute to remember our soldiers. We will post some links this week and next and keep in our minds that yes we are safe and free, but it comes at a price. Often that price is an American soldier’s life.
Now that the election is over I am finally getting to make and post some of the election writing in the form of podcasts. Here are a few more will follow.Click on the pictures to listen
Today our school is having their 3rd annual Mock election. This year we focused on NYS Governor’s election. We spent weeks learning about the candidates and the importance of voting.
I want to thank all of the students who worked hard to make this day happen. It is about 5 am and I am just getting up. I want to thank all of the “electioneers” who volunteered to work. Mr. Ferranni’s Class did a wonderful job decorating the auditorium and all the classes made cool election posters.
This morning we have some students who will be reading their written essays “Why is it important to vote?”, we also have 5 short Movies about the election. Really election commercials, only in these elections ads no one says anything bad about a candidate. Well here we go, after the election you can blog your thoughts and responses to the election process.
Mock Election Day!
I love this day.