Last week, I visited the students at Christian Home Educators Support System (CHESS) on the south side of Chicago. This is my first time speaking to home-school students. My topic, was the story of Carole Robertson, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley, known as the "Four Little Girls."
The students did not know the tragedy that happened 50+ years which wasn't that long ago. It was very important for them to know about these four little girls that lost their live because of hate. I discussed how African Americans were segregated from schools, movie theaters, restaurants and where they can live. I showed them "The Green Book" that listed services that African Americans could patronize and, most importantly, be safe. I had the students go through the book and find Chicago to see the limited number of businesses that welcomed African Americans. Interacting, is very important to me. I had each student read a segregated sign and what does it mean and how do they feel about what happened in the past. Some of the student didn't understand why did this happen.
I told the story about the four little girls and how they were the average pre-teen/teenagers. Cynthia Wesley liked having parties in her back yard, Denise McNair loved playing with her dolls, Carole Robertson was in the Girl Scouts and Addie Mae Collins was into sports. These young ladies were murdered by Robert Chambliss known as "Dynamite Bob." He was responsible for several bombings in Birmingham, AL. He wasn't convicted until 1977 and sentenced to life in prison. He died in 1985. Three other white supremacists who accompanied Chambliss in the bombing, Bobby Frank Cherry was sentenced to life in prison and died in 2004 and Thomas Edwin Blanton, Jr., was denied parole in 2016 and is waiting for the next parole date scheduled for 2021.
Three more young children were affected by the bombing on September 15, 1963 but have been erased from history. Sarah Collins Rudolph, was the sister of Addie Mae Collins. She was inside the church and sustained physical, mental injuries and lost an eye. Virgil Ware was shot while riding on his brother's handlebars by two white teenagers, Larry Joe Sims and Michael Farley. Johnny Robinson was shot by a Birmingham, AL police officer Jack Parker that was unwarranted.
I asked the students to think about what would have become of these young people, if they were alive today. They could have been doctors, lawyers, civil rights activists, congressman/woman or even President of the United States.
The students enjoyed the presentation and are looking forward to me coming back again. It was a great day.
To book me to do a black history presentation, please email me at www.sankofatravelher.com.
Black History Is More Than 28 Days!!!!!!