Monday, February 13, 2017

Sandy's Memories For Black History Month

Since this is Black History Month, I would like to share this little bit:

If you live on Hawthorne Street, Mount Holly, North Carolina or have ever walked down that street, you need to know this little known fact.
My grade school was Andrew M. Rollins Elementary School. If I walked out of my front door and headed left past 5 houses or so, I would be at the Mt. Holly colored school, grades 1 - 8. If I walked to the right, I would pass one house, a cemetery, cross the street and arrive at the white school, grades 1 - 12.
My elementary school was quite rewarding and the separation never really occurred to me; it was just normal life in Mt. Holly and the teachers were the best in the world.
One thing I did notice was walking to school was a bit difficult because of the terrain. One step would be on the asphalt until a car came by, and then the next step would be in the ditch in the weeds or in the mud unless you were able to luck upon a rock to step on.
Going in the opposite direction was really different. Once you crossed the street headed towards the other school you would be in the white neighborhood. No ditches, no weeds, no mud because there was a sidewalk.
If the sidewalk which was later extended down Hawthorne Street towards the colored neighborhood is still there after all these years, please think about my mother. She fought City Hall, boycotted her rent from a man named Bill Bailey, who was a member of the City Council, wrote letters, protested to the Board of Education, etc. etc. to bring about attention to the fact that black children should have a sidewalk to Rollins Elementary, just as white children had a sidewalk to Mt. Holly Elementary / High School. She never gave up and it was finally done.
My mother, born Catherine Belton, was responsible for the sidewalk on Hawthorne Street to give the little black elementary children a safe walk to their school.
This is my personal little known black history fact some time in the late 1950s or early 1960s. I can't remember the exact year.

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