The Civil Rights movement continues.
As Mary Beth tells students, 49 years ago — during the “Freedom Summer” of 1964 — her mom and dad were made to lie flat in the floor of a car as they traveled in rural Mississippi, to escape detection and avoid trouble as they worked to help register black voters in the state.
Now, Mary Beth could ride in a car with African Americans, as she did with Mrs. Martin and Mrs. Butler, who treated her to an amazing civil rights tour of McComb. And yesterday, driving into McComb in our hot pink, peace-sign covered Tinker Tour bus, we were greeted by kind hosts and townspeople.
But now there is a new civil rights issue. McComb High School- with its award winning McComb Legacies Project, its committed principal, teachers and community-has been labeled a “failing school,” thanks to No Child Left Behind.
In our sessions today, this pressure, along with the many standardized tests associated with it, were a major topic of concern. In response, Mary Beth encouraged students to speak up, while sharing stories of students and teachers around the country who are facing the same problem. She was reminded of students in NYC who recently marched through the streets chanting “we’re not failures” when their schools were closed.