Elizabeth "Bessie" Coleman

The sky is not the limit

Barnstorming Elizabeth “Bessie” Colman was the first African American to get an international pilots license at a time when women were not supposed to – men would routinely sabotage their aircraft – What really grounded her was that being black meant Bessie was turned away by any American flight school she applied to.

Nice small town has race issues.

Sara Przybylski Stevens Point, WI People think this is a great place to live, work, and raise kids… and it is. Just under the surface, though, there’s a little more going on. I grew up here. I saw my first African American person at the grocery store at the age of four-ish and loudly complimented […]

I became an activist and prisoner

Dan Kelly San Francisco, CA I was in a Brooklyn HS in the early 60s and the images coming from the south inspired me to question the social conventions that supported segregation, From that it was a short jump to questioning forteign policies that justified invading 3rd world countries. College seemed irrelevant and I left […]

Democracy and segregation cannot co-exist. We all suffer.

Lee Anne Bell New York , NY As a white person in this country I am disgusted by the lack of public will to challenge institutionalized racism. As a student of our ugly racial history, I know that we will never move forward as a country until we acknowledge and atone for our racial past. […]

Integration: equity and opportunity for all

Rob Breymaier Oak Park, IL We hear so much about how segregation harms people and communities. We don’t hear enough about how integration improves everyone’s life. We need more stories and documentation about how integration is good for everyone of every racial background. The appeal to our common interest that holds the key to a […]

school segregation still sickening suffocating success

Maureen Curran New York City, NY Staten Island The words by the Jacob Lawrence poster talking about people in Brooklyn in 1962 calling for school desegregation in our schools, breaks my heart when combined with this weeks news story about NY having the most segregated schools in the nation. Why? When will injustice cease?

Your bar is down the street.

Ronald Zeigler North Brunswick, NJ I was stationed at Parris Island going to Personnel school. I was from New York and with my three New Jersey (also Black) friends went into Beaufort, SC. We walked into a bar and my friend said “three beers, please”. I was at the jukebox looking for Motown and finding […]

Many southern Negroes never learned reading

Ted Hochstadt Falls Church, VA This is approximately what my mother said to me when I asked her why our African-American cleaning woman could not read the word I asked her about from my second grade reader. The conversation with my mother occurred in Brooklyn, NY almost 65 years ago, but I still remember that […]

When good men do nothing…

Courtney Elizabeth Columbus, OH I get really bothered when white people say “but I didn’t own slaves!” or “my ancestors weren’t here during America’s beginnings.” Be that as it may, I like to remind them that they were there during Jim Crow segregation, the violence that raged then, when Emmitt Till was murdered, when four […]