Think and Create: Diane Nash

Hello and welcome to my final think and create post. I had a hard time trying to figure out what to make of this one but I was hit by inspiration (and a ticking clock) to educate myself more about one of the key players of the civil rights movement, Diane Nash. There aren’t a lot of women who are thought of as key players of this time, but boy did Nash play a big part. Now, instead of just having you read about this amazing woman on my blog post, I have made a short little book using book creator about her and her accomplishments!

Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

The SNCC was formed in 1960 to help younger African-american people participate in the civil rights movement. They participated in events like the Lunch Counter Sit-Ins, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and, lead by Diane Nash, the Freedom Rides. They worked side by side with other Civil Rights Organizations, including the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC).

Lunch Counter Sit-Ins

The Greensboro Four were a group of four young black men who staged the first lunch counter sit in at Greensboro. Spurred on by the murder of Emmet Till,  and inspired by the non violent tactics of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), they were protesting segregation in the south. The movement spread across the south, with many arrests, but made an important impact, making establishments in the south change their segregation policies.

Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)

The CORE, founded in 1942 at the University of Chicago, embraced a non-violent approach to fighting racial segregation, and worked with many other civil rights groups. CORE was a big player in the Civil Rights movement, and started many initiatives, including the Freedom Rides, and the Freedom Summer of voter registration.

Freedom Rides

In 1961, CORE organized a group of African American people and white people to participate in the freedom rides, where they would test the ruling that there could be no segregation on interstate bus travel. They travelled in two buses, journeying from Washington, DC to New Orleans. Reactions were terrible. One of the buses, when travelling through Alabama, was firebombed. On the other bus was similarly attacked and passengers beaten. Discouraged, and with no one willing to take them any further, the SNCC took over and revived the effort, even getting government protection for a short leg. In Montgomery, though, they were again beaten when local police did not protect them. This prompted the government to get the national guard involved, but all riders were arrested when they arrived at their final destination. Finally, Kennedy created new legislation to stop segregation on interstate busses.

And that’s my post! I hope you take the time to click on some of those external links, and go deeper in your understanding of the civil rights movement, because its still relevant today, and educating yourself on these issues can help us stop prevent them from happening today.

Think and Create: Essay time

These think and create posts are harder than you’d think. We cover a lot of content, but it’s not always easy to find, or rather, come up with a feasible connection. I came up with this idea, actually, after talking to my grandpa about school when he was a kid in Vancouver, around the 50s. Drawing from his experience, the book Dear Martin, and our discussions in class, I have written an essay on segregation within unsegregated schools. It’s an interesting topic, one that I have found interesting opinions on.

Essay: Self Segregation 

       Throughout history, people have been judged by the colour of their skin. When you picture a racist, though, you can’t fully have an idea of what they look like. It’s not always white men with pitchforks in KKK get up. It can be parents, people drilling into their young child this idea of segregation. Sometimes it’s not even on purpose. Hate is easy, jointing a mob mentality can bring you closer with your peers. When people get to high school, in unsegregated schools, they sometimes segregate themselves, on purpose or not. It can be hard to notice, but from the 50’s, till today, it’s still there. 

In Dear Martin by Nic Stone, the main character is pushed in this direction of ‘self segregation’. He has internal struggles when he wants to date a white girl, for example. His mother, growing up in a time when it was very frowned upon for an African American man to be with a white woman, drills this idea into his head, until he makes decisions to push this girl away for his mother’s sake. Also, when his best friend is shot, he seeks comfort in his old, bad neighbourhood, wanting to be around people he thinks will understand. He separates himself from his best friends white friends, for other people like him who are bad influences. In both scenarios, he does understand the risk, but the racial pressures set upon him urge him towards a stereotype that will do him no good. He tries to do better, but this separate idea always comes to his mind. 

Although in the 1950’s in Vancouver schools were not segregated, people still divided according to race and ethnicity. In one example from Frank Ward, who went to a mainly white school with some people of East Indian descent, there was a very large culture barrier. The white boys and East Indian boys formed tight cliches, avoiding each other, but often getting into brawls. While this was surely discouraged by the teachers, the brawling part, it helped maintain the divide of culture, and this idea that a non-white man couldn’t, or shouldn’t, be with a white woman. Whether drilled into them by their parents, or the media, this idea would have shaped not only the boys in the cliches, but the younger students and siblings. It can be hard to change a behaviour you’ve never been told is wrong. 

After the Brown vs the Board of Education case was settled, and the United States declared that ‘separate but equal’ was not fair, integration of African American students into white schools began. Or it sort of did. There was nothing to say how soon this desegregation was to be done, and so it was up to the schools and communities to sort it out. One school that did integrate, though painfully, was in Little Rock, Arkansas. Nine African American students were enrolled to go to the school, but of course this was absolutely appalling to the white folk. There were riots and death threats as the children tried to enter the school, and the POTUS ended up having to send down the 101st Airborne Division to help them enter the school, but once they were in the school, they had no further help. The 9 students endured terrible abuse at the school, forcing upon them that they were not welcome to attend a school which the law said they could attend. They suffered for years because of this idea of segregation that had been drilled into the white children’s heads, that African American people were not people, and they had no respect for them.

This idea of segregation has done terrible damage to the world and its people, but it doesn’t seem to ever end. The stereotypes that were introduced then still impact our world today, shaping the minds of young children who know no better. Though having a rallying point is strong core of many communities, one so deep in hate should not be allowed. It can be hard to undo the past generations hate, but it is every generations job to learn about what happened before, and make sure it never happens again.

It is very hard to write an essay after being away from school for months, not to mention being in a room that smells like paint (long story). Essays are sometimes hard to do, but I felt is was a medium I could express these ideas on well. This is a very interesting project we are working towards, and each day teaches us more about the mistakes people have made and how we have to learn from them.

Think and Create: Statistics

When your teachers give you a project with basically no criteria, it can be difficult. It can be even more difficult when you are stuck at home and haven’t seen your friends or teachers in over a month. But we soldier on, and keep doing blog posts!

We’ve just started a new project about civil rights in America, and African American and Canadian people in their battle for this. So to start it off, we’ve been assigned something similar to the this week I learned posts from our last project, except we have basically no criteria.

For this week’s Think and Create post, I was interested in, well, statistics. We mentioned a few times in class how there isn’t as huge an African Canadian population in Vancouver as some other places, but I was interested in the specifics. I made some infographics to help inform us of those specific stats using data from Statistics Canada, which had data only from 2016. Hope you learn something!