67 years ago today, an amazing story happened that is known by far too few.
Griffin school in Monticello, Kentucky became the first school in the United States to integrate based upon the Supreme Court’s “Brown Vs. Board of Education” ruling the year before.
Their school year ran from July to February, so they were the first to open after the Court’s ruling was to take effect. An African- American family of 5 kids from the ages of 6-15 with the last name “Stonewall” lived in the area. They had never attended a day of school in their young lives.
Griffin was a one room schoolhouse in poor condition. It had no electricity, and not enough desks or books to accommodate each of its 53 students.
When the teacher at Griffin heard the school was going to integrate, she asked to be transferred.
Marie Blevins, age 39 said that she would take the job.
The day before the Stonewall kids were due to arrive at the school, Ms. Blevins taught the other students a song:
“Jesus loves the little children, all the little children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white, they are all precious in his sight.
Jesus loves all the little children in the world.”
The Stonewall kids showed up the next day, and were very successful in the classroom. There was very little community pushback as there was for the Little Rock Nine, or little Ruby Bridges in New Orleans. Ms. Blevins only received one angry letter from a man in Eastern Kentucky.
In fact, when the story made national news, people from all over the country sent the school money for improvements. They were able to buy new desks, a new chalkboard, and even a new radio.
I hate to be redundant, but these are the type of stories that people need to hear more about. These are the types of people that we need statues of and places named after.
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