Vigil marks Brown v. Board anniversary

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A group of parents and concerned citizens honored the 51st anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka U.S. Supreme Court decision on Tuesday by holding a rally and prayer vigil at the Dallas County Jail.

Rally organizer Faya Rose Toure said that even after a half-century of desegregation, many black children are still not receiving a quality education.

“Many of our young children are heading to jail because they can’t get a good education,” Toure said. “We need to keep raising the conscious of our community.”

The group of about 15 to 20 people began their rally in the parking lot of Selma High School. From there, the group did a slow caravan through downtown Selma on its way to the jail, with a quick stop for a prayer vigil at a cemetery on Water Avenue.

After arriving at the jail, the group stood in the parking lot holding up signs that read “miseducation.”

“Miseducation is causing children to be locked up at an early age,” said Malika Sanders, who lead the rally at the jail. “There is miseducation because African-Americans are not taught about their history in schools.”

Using a megaphone, the group called out to the jail’s prisoners, telling them about the eight steps to reach atonement, which included acknowledging their mistakes and seeking forgiveness.

The Rev. James Bevel also spoke to the crowd and listening prisoners about the necessary steps to becoming a non-violent activist.

“Non-violent begins with promising to not violate the dignity of another person,” Bevel said.

Another speaker during the rally was local resident Barbara Brown, who lost two sons to violence.

Brown called out to the prisoners, telling them that they were in jail because of the bad choices they made in life.

“You’ve not had the right things given to you,” Brown called out to the prisoners. “Success is having a job. Drugs don’t do anything to help you. You have to decide to no longer want to hurt our brothers.”

After the prayers and rally, the group finished the anniversary commemoration by making a short visit to Clark Elementary School.

The U.S Supreme Court announced its Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision on May 17, 1954, which effectively denied the legal basis for segregation.