What I Tell My Child About Color (silent)


text from: historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6255/

“What I Tell My Child About Color”: Black and White Fathers in Atlanta Try to Explain Race Relations to Their Sons

In 1954, the unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education dramatically changed American society. The Court reversed the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision that racially segregated public facilities were not inherently discriminatory. After the 1954 ruling, states could no longer apply “separate but equal” to public schools, in part because of segregation’s psychological effects on children. Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote in the Court’s decision that the separation of Negro children “from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone.” In 1955, the Court ordained that desegregation of public schools should proceed “with all deliberate speed.” As the South reacted to these rulings, two Atlanta fathers, both professionals, related for a popular magazine their experiences discussing race relations with their young sons.

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