Colorado Springs Celebrates Black History Month
February 18, 2011
- "We have you seated together, in two rows of nine seats, with a column down the middle. Why did we do this' Separate but equal."
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.- February is Black History Month, and this year's theme is "African-Americans and the Civil War," honoring the efforts of people of African descent to destroy slavery and begin their freedom in the United States.
In recognition of Black History Month, the United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command (USASMDC/ARSTRAT) Special Emphasis Committee hosted an event to enlighten employees.
The event's focus was on the historical case of Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka.
"We have you seated together, in two rows of nine seats, with a column down the middle. Why did we do this' Separate but equal," said Robert Howard, USASMDC/ARSTRAT Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, referring to the court's decision declaring that separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.
The theme of 'separate but equal' was carried on by the guest speaker, Ruth Steele, founder and CEO of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Museum and Cultural Center in Pueblo, Colo.
"The white schools used to send us their books. We'd open them up, to have no pages! But, they forgot they had an index," said Steel, "Our teachers were so well-prepared, they could write a whole lesson, just based off the index. That was our 'separate but equal '."
Steele's remarks continued to touch on ways the case changed history, noting even though the attendees were seated separately, they were still integrated.
"You guys, you couldn't be sitting there," noted Steele, motioning to African-American members of the audience, "not when I was a kid. No way."
Brown vs. the Board of Education was a landmark case in which the United States Supreme Court declared laws segregating schools were unconstitutional. The 1954 case is considered to have paved the way for integration and the civil rights movement.