Fifty years ago, the Supreme Court ruled against public school segregation in the landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education.
In a program at Bridgewater College on Tuesday night, three of the first blacks to attend the school related their experiences with segregation.
It was a different America before the 1954 Supreme Court decision. In Virginia and the South, blacks and whites went to separate schools.
Don Banks grew up in Elkton. "Well, elementary school for me was in a four-room school; two rooms were set aside for educational purposes, the others, all-purpose room, cafeteria," Banks said.
Karen Scott lived in Bath County. She said, "For high school, we traveled 40 miles one way, and I left home at 7:30 in the morning [and] got to school about 8:45." She lived a half-mile from a white high school.
Both attended Bridgewater College, as did Carlyle Whitelow, a student-athlete who relates going to eat in Baltimore after playing a college basketball game. "The manager said he could not serve the colored fella there, but I can serve you three. And then from there, the fellas said that, well if you can't serve him, you will not serve us."
The three had good experiences at Bridgewater, one of the first colleges in the South to integrate.