Cynthia Tucker on black anti-intellectualism

Get black teens back to books
by Cynthia Tucker
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 05/16/2004

I was born in Alabama in 1955, just months after the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed segregated public schools in its famous ruling, Brown vs. Board of Education. My mother believed the decision would save me from being marooned in second-class schools because of my skin color.

She was wrong. Using the court’s language of “all deliberate speed” as an excuse to do nothing, Alabama continued its system of second-class schools for black students until the early 1970s.

Nevertheless, I received a pretty good education. That’s because my parents saw to it that second-class schools would not hold their children back. They limited our time in front of the television; they supervised our homework; they helped us fill out membership cards to the neighborhood (segregated) library. My mother, who taught high school English, exposed me to everything from the Bobbsey Twins to Beowulf.

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