1970. Not so long ago if you put it on a timeline. But it took years to get to 1970.
Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1954 ruling, public schools were required to integrate. But a Superintendent by the name of O.K. Phillips declared that schools in Broward County would continue the policy of segregation.
That all changed in 1961 when a black student, Chester Seabury, entered Stranahan High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, to become the first black student in an all-white public school. He graduated from that school in 1963.
John Lennon’s 1969 single, Give Peace a Chance, was a song that played over and over at the Fire Drill Talent Show at McArthur High School in Hollywood, Florida, Broward County. It’s the song I remember most vividly, because it was timely. Many of my friends at McArthur were black—Ron, George, Baby Tonia, just to name a few. I can’t imagine not having them as friends.
In the scheme of things, 1970 isn’t much older than integration itself. Not in Florida.
And that one song is such a beautiful reminder of what we are all capable of.
Ed note: Historical info provided by Nancy Knipe