CHAT honors Brown case

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 10, 2004

Students at Selma Middle C.H.A.T. Academy celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court decision Thursday during a special assembly.

During the afternoon assembly, C.H.A.T. students read excerpts from statements made by the ruling U.S. Supreme Court judges regarding the now famous case that impacted the public school system as we know it today.

Following a performance by the C.H.A.T. choir and Jazz band, students heard from guest speaker Dr. John Gooden, professor of leadership and administration at Alabama State University.

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Gooden explained to students how blacks were treated during the “separate but equal” phase of American history and the changes that came about because of the Brown case.

“In 1954, the Supreme Court said black schools should have equal treatment,” Gooden told the students. “The court said ‘separate but equal’ is not true. Separate is not equal.”

Gooden then went on to remind students of the legacy they are responsible for carrying on.

“If you don’t know how to read and are not doing your best in school, you are letting down the older generations,” he said. “Remember your legacy. You have to protect it.”

In order to carry on the work of previous generations of Civil Rights workers, Gooden said, students need to always be aware of the opportunities available to them.

“All the people involved in Brown did it for you,” he said.

After Gooden’s speech, Selma City Schools Curriculum Coordinator Verdell Dawson talked to the students about the school system’s new Early College High School program.

This new program, which officially begins next month, was created by the Selma City School System to help students achieve their goals and give them more opportunities in life.

“Brown gave us the opportunity to have highly-qualified teachers and new textbooks,” Dawson said. “The Selma City School Board has now brought students another opportunity to earn a high school and college diploma.”

Dawson urged the eighth-graders to apply to the program as the prepared the enter Selma High School.

The program ended with brief closing remarks from Principal Charlotte Griffin before students were dismissed back to their classrooms.