Monday, April 06, 2009

Memorial Remembrance at MLK Plaza, Norfolk, Virginia, April 4, 2009: Andrew Heidelberg

This was another beautiful memorial remembrance this year of Dr King's death in Norfolk, with good weather, a good crowd, and good speakers and performers. Andrew Heidelberg, famous for being one of the Norfolk 17, the dauntless Black teenagers who weathered racial abuse to integrate the Norfolk School System starting in 1959, addresses the crowd.

From the PBS TV Station WHRO:

They were just teenagers who wanted a chance at a better education. But in 1959 Norfolk, that was a problem. African-American students werent allowed to go to historically white schools.

Until the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision opened the door for them by striking down the doctrine of separate but equal. But it still took years of legal wrangling before any of the Norfolk 17 set foot into an integrated classroom.

Then they were intimidated, threatened, cursed and subjected to all manner of racial animosity. But the persevered and ultimately graduated from high school, earning a place at the table of better education for the African-American students who came after.

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