The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Change in courts, attitudes bring options for black students

By Steve Knight/managing editor

Part two in a four-part Black History Month series on the theme of progress.

Opportunities for African-Americans to obtain a quality education have not been easy and often times have come with hostility.

The 1950s and ’60s were the most violent years in our country’s history as public schools and colleges attempted to integrate after the Supreme Court ruled that public school segregation was unconstitutional in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas case.

In that landmark case, Chief Justice Earl Warren said, “We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place.”

Anne Rye, assistant professor of history on NE Campus, said Brown was definitely a landmark case.

“When the Warren Court announced a unanimous decision on May 17, 1954, the power of those words was momentous,” she said.

When riots ensued on the University of Mississippi campus in 1962 as a result of his enrollment, James Meredith was escorted to class by U.S. marshals.

An Oct. 12, 1962, Time article said, “Meredith’s very presence on that campus was an affirmation that the individual’s rights under the Constitution are to be enforced against whatever opposition, at whatever cost.”

One black TCC student felt strongly about the quality of his studies.

“My education is very important to me and my family,” NE student Terence Joseph said.

Joseph, who underwent surgery at age 7 to remove lesions from his brain, said doctors did not expect him to survive past high school.

“My family prayed and prayed,” he said of his three-week recovery in the hospital.

“The worst part was when they took the stitches out,” he said.

“I didn’t want to go back to school because my head was bald.”

Joseph said his graduation from Arlington’s Lamar High School in 2004 was a dream for his parents.

Joseph said he has not experienced the discrimination his parents suffered in Louisiana.

“My parents told me stories of how they were forced to eat in sections of restaurants separate from white people,” he said.

Although Baton Rouge, La., schools were integrated, most black citizens, who lived in the same side of the city, went to Capitol High School.

“My dad knew which Louisiana towns to avoid because black people were not welcome,” Joseph said.

His mother, who works for American Airlines reservations, attended Southern University in Baton Rouge.

His father, who works at General Magnaplate, was not able to attend college because he needed to support the family.

Joseph’s brother attends school at Houston’s Texas Southern University.

“My parents are paying [tuition] for this,” said Joseph, a broadcasting student.

“I really want to finish my degree because I didn’t think I was going to make it this far.”

Joseph said he wants to work at a smooth jazz radio station or start his own recording company after graduation.

“I have a fun, laid-back personality and don’t let things bug me,” he said.

“I only get hyped when I bowl.”

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