In September 1964, 17 black youth in Orangeburg, SC integrated the local elementary, middle school and high school.
On the first day of school we were escorted to school on a school bus surrounded by National Guard, Police and State Troopers. We were very, very frightened. As we neared our school, we began reciting the 23rd Psalm.
When we arrived at school everyone had been sent to class to await our arrival. We were all separated and put in a class alone and seated on the front row. WE WERE AFRAID!!
When I walked in my class I said to myself, WOW, look at all the equipment. I wonder why we didn't have this equipment at Wilkinson? My journey began!
Everyday we were involved in some incident of hatred. In my English class there was a boy that sat in the row I sat in and he sat in the very last seat. There was no one beside me or behind me. You see, they didn't want to be near me because of my skin color.
I endured this for a long time because I was afraid to speak up. Did it affect my work? Yes! My brother was walking down the hall and someone ran up to him and spat on him. Those of us that weren't afraid to stand up were in fights. We met every day after school with lawyers and other civil rights leaders to discuss the events of the day. Our lawyers met with school officials.
Yes, we endured anger and hatred. God where are you? There were many days when I would ask God why did they hate me. I don't understand. I am not a bad person. I go to church every Sunday and I make good grades in school. Why do they hate me.
Copyright © 2004
Last Modified: August 1, 2004