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Avery Research Center Brown Bag Series: “Somebody Had To Do It: First Children in School Desegregation,” Millicent Brown, Dec 3rd, 12-1:15 pm

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Brown Bag Series: “Somebody Had To Do It: First Children in School Desegregation,” Millicent Brown, PhD, Somebody Had To Do It Project Director and Independent Scholar, Avery Research Center, Dec 3rd, 12-1:15 pm
In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that de jure racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional on the federal level through Brown v. Board of Education. Despite this ruling, it took years for public schools on the state and local level to effectively begin to integrate. In South Carolina, school desegregation did not begin until 1963, when Judge Robert Martin ruled in Millicent Brown et al v. Charleston County School Board, District 20 to approve requests from Black students to be admitted to White schools. In this presentation, Millicent Brown, who is now a retired professor of U.S. History, will discuss her experiences as a “first child” in school desegregation, which led her to launch the Somebody Had To Do It project in 2006. Through oral histories with Black Americans who were the “first children” to integrate public schools in the mid-twentieth century, the Somebody Had To Do It oral history collection provides insights into the history of school desegregation in South Carolina and the U.S. South. In 2013, Brown donated this collection to the Avery Research Center, and in 2015 she co-authored an online exhibition through the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative with Jon Hale and Clerc Cooper that features excerpts from this collection, as well as an essay and timeline detailing the history of desegregation in South Carolina.