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Walk the Line

Menddy Paola Mercado | 2/25/2010, 8:36 p.m.
      3rd Place
      Menddy Paola Mercado
      12th Grade - Thomas A. Edison High School

      She was being tugged left and right, €You need to go to an all-white school!€ said her mother, €No she will not! The anger that resides within these cruel people will not allow it!€ yelled her father. The young girl€s faith was chosen: an all-white school. She had U.S marshals walk her to and from school, surrounding her, protecting her from the furious protestors. She would leave her house with a smile hiding the fear within her. She would be in a classroom by herself, on another complete level of the school. She was never near white people because parents refused to have a black and white student in the same classroom. She was Ruby Bridges.

      During the 1950s this is what children were used to seeing: anger, nasty signs, segregated classrooms and bathrooms. The hatred soon spread like an infectious disease. Fortunately, the times have changed because of Ruby€s courage to walk the line. School has evolved as a place to bring all races together and for many years this has been the new look of our society; the world does not exist in just black and white any more.

      If you enter schools now, your eyes will be greeted with diversity. No longer are schools segregated; no longer is it okay to throw rocks at students who don€t look like you; no longer is it okay to taunt people, of what use to be called, €color.€ Our society has grown into a melting pot of cultures, transforming the world we live in just as it transformed itself 50 years ago. Back then a school bus wouldn€t be splashed with €color€ as it is now. Back then the society could only differentiate between black and white. Young adolescents would leave their house scared to death and students would only talk to their own kind. Now it is different. Together the people before us have conquered ignorance and fought for equality.

      Black History Month re-echoes the contributions that African-Americans have made towards the development of the United States and communities within. It is important for people today and for the future generations to understand the harsh reality of racism that once engulfed our communities. The captivating words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Park€s historic refusal to give up her seat on the Montgomery bus marked a path for freedom.

      Just imagine.
      If it weren€t for the activist fighters who never gave up, neither my loving parents nor my friends would be here. People with unique cultures and backgrounds would not have had the life they are presently living. This world would not be the spectrum of diversity as it is now. During this month we need to take time to reminisce and admire the fight that our brothers and sisters fought to get us here.