How do we teach our children today what it was like to be a young African American girl, Connie, in Greensboro, N.C. in the sixties? The voice that can reach our kids in a way that they can understand is this young girl who loves to shop with her mother but has to live by the signs all over the city that tell her where she can and cannot eat, sit, drink and go to the bathroom. Tired and hot she looks at the lunch counter at Woolworth's and longs to hop on a stool and order a banana split. Jim Crow won't let her. These are adult issues and hard for a child to understand. So hard that when she hears that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is coming to town, she wonders, "Who's sick?" Even though she's only eight years old, Connie joins in as her own family rises into the battle against segregation and helps make signs for protests. Eventually the day comes when she can order that banana split. It's important to walk a mile in her shoes and feel the injustice and to see the strength and courage that it took to overcome the prejudice.
Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-ins
Dial, December 2004
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