May, 17 1954, Washington D.C.
“We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”
-US Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 1954
February 17, 1961, Dunsinane, Missouri
“In the bleak night, little black boys and girls rise out of their frigid beds. Tip-toeing across the creaking floor, they huddle with each other to await the mornin’s sun. Holding tight to their mommas, they beg not to go to school. Yet with one slap at the wrist and a mighty glare, the children are off, just as the blizzard is to be settlin’ in.
The little black boys and girls walk. They can see Dunsinane Public Academy from their yard, but shivering, they turn the other way. You and they know “their kind” ain’t accepted there. They can only be accepted in your fine all-black school, miles from their homes. So, their tiny feet fight, buried six inches beneath the snow. And you gentlemen dare say that ‘seperate but equal’ has a place in the education system?”
-Sidewalk Chalk Society to the City Council of Dunsinane, 1961
But despite the ruling, segregation persisted.
From bathrooms, to churches, sidewalks and grocery stores, America was so blindly divided. The South, entirely. Yet when it came to their schools and the possibility of black and white children holding hands, the matter only intensified. Brown v. Board of Education wasn’t enough. Not one single court case could shake the South from their stubborn segregation. To some, segregation was a means of cleanliness. Yet to many, segregation was an extension of slavery.
In the small town of Dunsinane, Missouri, segregation is at its finest. The city itself is divided east and west, white and black. Before their neighboring state’s court case, the idea of integration was mocked between both sides. Even the case itself did not change the minds of many, but rather, it changed the minds of the few. The few being the Sidewalk Chalk Society.
Formed from the dirt of Birnam Community, a tight-knit group of women rose to challenge the system. No one knows how these few gained their name, nor all the members of the society. They come and go as they please, to fight for a cause worth dying for– their babies. It is time for there to be change in the system for once and for all. With a new President at the horizon and matters with Russia going from bad to worse, segregation is becoming a worry of the past. Yet, the Society persists. There will be action, there will be change.
Birnam shall march to high Dunsinane.
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