Desegregation remembered, students receive apology

Desegregation remembered, students receive apology
Panel discussion at College of Charleston
Panel discussion at College of Charleston

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Fifty years after Charleston schools desegregated; several of the first foot soldiers in the movement received an emotional apology from the very schools they fought to attend.

"I remember one thing as a child going through that hallway; it was lined up with parents, teachers and children. My father had me by the hand," said Oveta Glover.

Clarice Hines-Lewis said, "I became introverted."

"What I thought was a southern phenomenon; I realized was a national phenomenon," said Millicent Brown.

The women who walked the frontlines of school desegregation in Charleston shared their experiences to a packed audience of all ages.

Glover said, "The scary part of it all was how they were treating my father."

Everyone listened closely to how they overcame.

"From that point on they went on to fight and we went into James Simons Elementary school in 1963 to be the first to integrate that particular school," said Glover.

In 1954, the Supreme Court outlawed segregation across the nation. Charleston didn't integrate schools until 1963.

Brown said, "it was about the principal of justices and the equitable distribution or resources that made us determine that we had to get rid of segregated schools."

Superintendent Dr. Nancy McGinley thanked them for their bravery.

"What courageous children you were. I am honored to meet you finally face to face," said McGinley.

She presented a formal apology to the panel of women and all children who struggled through desegregation.

McGinley said, "On behalf of Charleston County School District I want to say we were wrong, we discriminated against children represented by you ladies here today."

The women say the hardships in school as children prepared them for later challenges in life.

Minerva King said, "It was the easiest thing in the world to do because of the early preparation that we had."

They agreed on the message that its important to teach the lessons learned.

Glover said, "Segregation, you learn from it. You listen, you learn and you teach."

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