His bus stop’s my white school.

Sally Childs-Helton,
Indianapolis, IN.

I was raised (white) in the pre-segregated south and grew up with separate bathrooms, water fountains, and schools. My parents ran a general store and many of our customers were black and I knew them and their families as members of our rural community. There was a black family I knew through the family business who lived adjacent to my own white, segregated school. Every day when I arrived at school, I would see the children from that family waiting in front of my school to be picked up and bused across town. Many of us asked out parents and teachers why those children couldn’t just come to our school and we rarely got answers beyond “it’s the law.” Most of the children in my school recognized the inherent unfairness and stupidity in busing children across town just because they were black, yet we felt helpless to do anything about it other than ask “why.” Watching black children I knew standing in front of my school waiting to be bused helped me decide that when I got old enough and could do something about it, I would. I have been active in diversity education for most of my life, and the image of these children waiting in front of my school reminds me why my commitment is important. These children are in their 60s now, and the school is long gone, but this powerful image remains.

 

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