A Rough Time By Matt Fredericks Jack Smith had an ordinary life for a black boy in the 1950s. A rough life. He lived in Arkansas with a big family of three brothers, two sister and his parents. Jack went to an all black school with two of his brothers and one sister. It was September 2nd 1957. Jack’s school started ahead of the all white schools. It was his 3rd day back after summer break. It was a regular day and he was doing math when all of a sudden his teacher said she had to tell them something important. She said that ten students would be picked to go to an allwhite school for the first time. President Eisenhower wanted schools not to be segregated and ordered that for the first time black students in the South would start going to an all white school. So their teacher said that tomorrow she would chose ten students, or they could volunteer to be chosen and she said to think about it that night and talk about it with their parents and then decide if they wanted to be chosen. If not enough students volunteer their teacher said she would have to choose people. The next day when Jack got to school the atmosphere was tense in the classroom waiting to see who volunteered or who would get picked. Jack’s teacher then told everyone to be quiet and asked for any volunteers who had decided they wanted to go to the allwhite school. Five hands went up including Jacks. Jack’s brother Jermaine’s hands also went up along with Jack’s best friend Mark. Eleven days had gone by and it was now the Sunday before the students were to go to the all white school for the first time. They all met at Jack’s house that night and made a plan to meet at a boy named Alex’s house in the morning so they all could walk to school together in the morning It seemed like forever but finally morning came and Jack and his bother got up and got ready for the day and then walked to Alex’s house where they waited for everyone to arrive. When everyone did finally arrive they all started their walk to school which took about ten minutes. As they got about halfway there a crowd had started to gather around them. As they got even closer the crowd grew and grew and the crowd started yelling at them and
throwing things at them. When they finally got to the new school soldiers and police pushed through the crowds and formed a big circle around them protecting them. When they got about halfway on the school’s front lawn more soldiers and police had formed a circle around the front of the school blocking protesters from getting to the school so when they walked through that circle they were safe for the moment. When the boys got inside the school they all split up for the individual classes they had to go to. Every student had one soldier with them at all times. Jack and Mark were in the same class. When they got there were only eight white students in the class. Their teacher Mr.Macan introduced himself and they began their first class which was math. By the time lunch had come around all the white students had been pulled out of the class by their parents who had come to the school and who were really angry that Jack and Mark were in the class. The parents yelled mean things at them. During lunch Jack and Mark ate their lunch in the classroom with Mr.Macan and the two soldiers. The rest of the day Mr.Macan worked on reading and writing with Jack and Mark. When the day finally ended Jack and Mark met up with their friends at the front of the school. They talked for about a minute about their day then the soldiers told them it was time for them to go and when they got out of the school there was a huge crowd again yelling and throwing things at them. The soldiers and police were holding them back about thirty feet from the school. The soldiers said it was too dangerous for them to walk home so they were going to ride home in cars with police cars escorting them home. So they all walked fast and got in cars and they had to go the opposite way the crowd was which meant that it took longer to get home, but there were no protesters along this route. When Jack and his brother finally got home they told their whole family about their day. It was a really rough and long day and they explained that it was scary having things thrown at them and people yelling mean things at them. The day really was not fun at all for either of them and they were going to have to get use to it because they were going to have to deal with it for a while. Hopefully it would get better as time went on but Jack wasn’t so sure it would.
Author’s Note The 1950s and 1960s were only a small part of hundreds of years that black people were treated horribly. Black people were treated horribly by white people. It mostly happened in the South but there was still some problems in the North. Black kids were not allowed to go to school with white kids. Black people couldn't sit in the same seat on a bus with a white person. Black people couldn't drink from the same water fountain or go to the same bathroom as a white person. Also the Little Rock 9 was a group of nine black kids that were chosen to go to a all white school for the first time. They endured many hardships their like things were thrown at them when they walked to school. Because of the kids getting attacked the president sent in soldiers to protect the kids. Another thing that happened to one of them was a girl in the little rock 9 was attacked, stabbed and acid was thrown in her eyes and she would have gone blind if it wasn't for the soldier guarding her throwing water over her eyes. Those are just some of the few problems blacks dealt with everyday all the time in the South. Black people had a very rough life. Black people were often attacked when they were trying to protest for their rights. Even though the blacks were attacked they still did not fight back. They protested peacefully. Dr.Martin Luther King was the most famous leader for blacks civil rights. He lead a march in Washington DC on August 28,1963 that had over 200,000 people with him protesting. Where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Even though the government made laws saying that black kids could go to the
same school as white kids some schools would not let them in. Black people had a very rough life back then but thanks to their protests they won their rights eventually.
Bibliography "The Civil Rights Movement." CNN.com - Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News. Web. 02 Feb. 2012. <http://CNN.com>. Welch, Catherine A. Children of the Civil Rights Era. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda, 2001. Print. Little Rock Nine Wikipedia. Web. 10 Feb. 2012. <http://Wikipedia.org>.
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