In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I am going to write a short blog and share some pictures from my baby book about growing up in Martin County. Mind you, I was born in 1964. In 1971 I attended first grade at Parker Annex–J.D. Parker in Stuart.
To view the history of desegregation in Florida’s schools view here:http://www.floridamemory.com/blog/tag/desegregation/
When I attended J.D. Parker Elementary School in Stuart I was six years old, so I never thought about being black or white. I think very young kids innately realize that blood runs red in everyone. We are all the same until we are told we are different.
Although I did not feel “different” when listening to stories of the grown-ups I could tell it used to be very different.
I remember my father being disheartened and sharing stories about how when he was growing up in Stuart, Florida, in the 1950s, there were white and black water fountains, and the black community had to sit in a designated area at the Lyric Theater….Schools were separated. I remember going to the doctor’s office on East Ocean Blvd. and there were two sets of doors..I would ask: “Mom why are there two sets of doors?” Well Jacqui, not too long ago, one set was for blacks, and the other one was for whites.”
I remember hearing that there were certain beaches along Hutchinson Island and the Indian River Lagoon were for blacks only…even the water was segregated?
All this seemed crazy.
It was not until I became an adult that I realized how near all of this history is. Just one generation away. Hard to believe isn’t it?
When I finally grew up, I taught 9th grade English and German at Pensacola High School and one of my favorite readings for my English students was Martin Luther’s Kings’ “I Have a Dream.”
Every MLK Day I read it aloud and remember…..It is a great inspiration….today or yesterday…
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character…I have a dream today….”
I have a Dream MLK:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vDWWy4CMhE
Florida Schools: http://www.usccr.gov/pubs/022007_FloridaDesegreport.pdf