Former Birmingham student remembers days of desegregation - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Former Birmingham student remembers days of desegregation

Posted: Updated:

Public schools in Alabama today welcome students of any background, any race. The was not always the case. But on this day fifty years ago three Birmingham schools were integrated.

Ramsay, along with West End High and Graymont Elementary were the first ones to see African Americans walk through the door. Many of those first students still live and work in the community.

Richard Walker was the first black student to enroll at Ramsay High School. He is now a doctor in Birmingham. Evelyn Jackson came as a junior to Ramsay two years later. She says it never dawned on her as a teenager that she was making history.

"I think as a young person you don't realize and certainly I didn't realize how much of it would become historical. It was just something that we wanted to do. I had marched and participated in all the mass meetings," said Jackson.

At fifteen years of age, Jackson understood the importance of not taking opportunities for granted.  She had marched and protested to have schools integrated. So when the opportunity came to desegregate Birmingham schools, she wanted to take it.

"For me there were three other friends and I and we decided well lets change school sand go to Ramsay high school," she said.

She enrolled in Ramsay during her junior year in 1965. She never encountered violence. But it was clear on many occasions that her presence was not welcome.

"You may sit down in an area and everyone around you would move. There were also times if you had labs, say a science lab then you were probably the only one to do the experiment. You didn't have a buddy to help you," said Jackson.

Fast forward to today. Ramsay High School is approximately ninety percent African American. Principal Evelyn Nettles says doctor Richard Walker, Ramsay's very first black student, recently spoke to the freshman class.

"I think that set a precedence for them that there is so much prestige, and that someone has already paid the cost. Being escorted by the marshals to come into the schools. How he had to sit and eat lunch by himself," said Nettles.

Jackson says she hopes today's students learn from the past.

"They really need to be more appreciative of it and take advantage of the educational opportunities that are being presented."

  • Birmingham Area NewsMore>>

  • Death investigation launched in McCalla after man finds decomposed body while bush-hogging property

    Death investigation launched in McCalla after man finds decomposed body while bush-hogging property

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 9:54 PM EDT2014-07-24 01:54:06 GMT
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office has launched a death investigation after a man discovered a decomposed body while bush-hogging his property in McCalla Wednesday afternoon.More >>
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office has launched a death investigation after a man discovered a decomposed body while bush-hogging his property in McCalla Wednesday afternoon.More >>
  • Governor considering special session to fund economic development incentives

    Governor considering special session to fund economic development incentives

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 9:53 PM EDT2014-07-24 01:53:09 GMT
    Alabama Governor Robert Bentley may call a special session in November to change funding for economic incentives. The money could start coming from the education budget.More >>
    Alabama Governor Robert Bentley may call a special session in November to change funding for economic incentives. The money could start coming from the education budget.More >>
  • Barber's artist skills on display

    Barber's artist skills on display

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 9:46 PM EDT2014-07-24 01:46:30 GMT
    It's called "Brushstrokes Between Cuts." And it's the first major art exhibition by local barber and artist Carter "Pooley" Moorer, Jr. The exhibition features 31 paintings that Moorer created during more than 60 years as a barber at Carter's Barbershop, his families barbershop in Ensley. Moorer's work is on display at The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute now through October 12th.According to his family, Moorer took only one art class when he was a freshman at Western Olin High School, which...More >>
    It's called "Brushstrokes Between Cuts." And it's the first major art exhibition by local barber and artist Carter "Pooley" Moorer, Jr. The exhibition features 31 paintings that Moorer created during more than 60 years as a barber at Carter's Barbershop, his families barbershop in Ensley. Moorer's work is on display at The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute now through October 12th.According to his family, Moorer took only one art class when he was a freshman at Western Olin High School, which...More >>
  • Anniston - Gadsden Area NewsMore>>

  • Oneonta police need help identifying woman who stole flowers from gravesite (pictures)

    Oneonta police need help identifying woman who stole flowers from gravesite (pictures)

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 12:55 PM EDT2014-07-23 16:55:33 GMT
    Oneonta police have turned to Facebook in trying to identify a woman who apparently stole flowers from a gravesite at a Oakhill Cemetery on Tuesday.More >>
    Oneonta police have turned to Facebook in trying to identify a woman who apparently stole flowers from a gravesite at a Oakhill Cemetery on Tuesday.
    More >>
  • Suspect in Jacksonville shooting from June turns self in

    Suspect in Jacksonville shooting from June turns self in

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:06 PM EDT2014-07-22 23:06:38 GMT
    Jacksonville police said the suspect in the June shooting of a Calhoun County man turned himself into police Tuesday afternoon.More >>
    Jacksonville police said the suspect in the June shooting of a Calhoun County man turned himself into police Tuesday afternoon.
    More >>
  • Jacksonville man arrested for child pornography

    Jacksonville man arrested for child pornography

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:05 PM EDT2014-07-22 23:05:18 GMT
    William Franklin Harper (Photo: Calhoun County Sheriff's Office)William Franklin Harper (Photo: Calhoun County Sheriff's Office)
    The Alabama Bureau of Investigation’s CyberCrimes Unit arrested a Jacksonville man Tuesday for possession of child pornography.ABI officers served a search warrant at the home of 49-year-old William Franklin Harper. Harper is charged with four counts of possession of child pornography.He is currently in custody at theCalhoun County Jailwith bond setat $100,000 bond.During the search, investigators found methamphetamine. Agents of the Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control Board and the Calhoun Coun...More >>
    The Alabama Bureau of Investigation’s CyberCrimes Unit arrested a Jacksonville man Tuesday for possession of child pornography.ABI officers served a search warrant at the home of 49-year-old William Franklin Harper. Harper is charged with four counts of possession of child pornography.He is currently in custody at theCalhoun County Jailwith bond setat $100,000 bond.During the search, investigators found methamphetamine. Agents of the Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control Board and the Calhoun Coun...More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Julio Jones cleared in time for Falcons camp

    Julio Jones cleared in time for Falcons camp

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:59 PM EDT2014-07-24 03:59:36 GMT
    Number '11' will be a welcome sight to fans and teammates at Falcons training camp.Wide receiver Julio Jones has been cleared to take part in practice, coach Mike Smith told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta begins training camp Friday in Flowery Branch, Ga. The former Alabama star injured his foot in Week 5 of last season and missed the rest of the year."He will be limited in terms of his snaps," Smith told the AJC. "Our No. 1 goal is to make sure that we've got everybody as healthy ...More >>
    Number '11' will be a welcome sight to fans and teammates at Falcons training camp.Wide receiver Julio Jones has been cleared to take part in practice, coach Mike Smith told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta begins training camp Friday in Flowery Branch, Ga. The former Alabama star injured his foot in Week 5 of last season and missed the rest of the year."He will be limited in terms of his snaps," Smith told the AJC. "Our No. 1 goal is to make sure that we've got everybody as healthy ...More >>
  • Man found dead from apparent gunshot wound inside Locust Fork home

    Man found dead from apparent gunshot wound inside Locust Fork home

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:35 PM EDT2014-07-24 02:35:17 GMT
    BLOUNT COUNTY, Alabama -- A death investigation is underway in Locust Fork after a man was found dead inside a home late Wednesday afternoon.More >>
    BLOUNT COUNTY, Alabama -- A death investigation is underway in Locust Fork after a man was found dead inside a home late Wednesday afternoon.More >>
  • Death investigation launched in McCalla after man finds decomposed body while bush-hogging property

    Death investigation launched in McCalla after man finds decomposed body while bush-hogging property

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 9:54 PM EDT2014-07-24 01:54:06 GMT
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office has launched a death investigation after a man discovered a decomposed body while bush-hogging his property in McCalla Wednesday afternoon.More >>
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office has launched a death investigation after a man discovered a decomposed body while bush-hogging his property in McCalla Wednesday afternoon.More >>
  • Governor considering special session to fund economic development incentives

    Governor considering special session to fund economic development incentives

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 9:53 PM EDT2014-07-24 01:53:09 GMT
    Alabama Governor Robert Bentley may call a special session in November to change funding for economic incentives. The money could start coming from the education budget.More >>
    Alabama Governor Robert Bentley may call a special session in November to change funding for economic incentives. The money could start coming from the education budget.More >>
  • Barber's artist skills on display

    Barber's artist skills on display

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 9:46 PM EDT2014-07-24 01:46:30 GMT
    It's called "Brushstrokes Between Cuts." And it's the first major art exhibition by local barber and artist Carter "Pooley" Moorer, Jr. The exhibition features 31 paintings that Moorer created during more than 60 years as a barber at Carter's Barbershop, his families barbershop in Ensley. Moorer's work is on display at The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute now through October 12th.According to his family, Moorer took only one art class when he was a freshman at Western Olin High School, which...More >>
    It's called "Brushstrokes Between Cuts." And it's the first major art exhibition by local barber and artist Carter "Pooley" Moorer, Jr. The exhibition features 31 paintings that Moorer created during more than 60 years as a barber at Carter's Barbershop, his families barbershop in Ensley. Moorer's work is on display at The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute now through October 12th.According to his family, Moorer took only one art class when he was a freshman at Western Olin High School, which...More >>
  • Jefferson Co. District 2 Race contested

    Jefferson Co. District 2 Race contested

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 9:43 PM EDT2014-07-24 01:43:48 GMT
    The election results may have been confirmed earlier this week, but the race to win Jefferson County's District 2 seat is not finished. ABC 33/40 has learned the election will be challenged. Someone has contested the election results.You may remember, only a small number of votes separated Shelia Smoot and Sandra Little Brown. The tight race was won by the incumbent.Brown tells ABC 33/40 Chairman Richard Mauk, with the Jefferson County Democratic Party was served the contest. We're told it ap...More >>
    The election results may have been confirmed earlier this week, but the race to win Jefferson County's District 2 seat is not finished. ABC 33/40 has learned the election will be challenged. Someone has contested the election results.You may remember, only a small number of votes separated Shelia Smoot and Sandra Little Brown. The tight race was won by the incumbent.Brown tells ABC 33/40 Chairman Richard Mauk, with the Jefferson County Democratic Party was served the contest. We're told it ap...More >>
  • Samford picked to finish third in Southern Conference

    Samford picked to finish third in Southern Conference

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 8:38 PM EDT2014-07-24 00:38:39 GMT
    Coming off it's first trip to the FCS Playoffs, Samford was picked to finish third in the Southern Conference, the highest the program has even been picked in the preseason since it joined the league in 2008.More >>
    Coming off it's first trip to the FCS Playoffs, Samford was picked to finish third in the Southern Conference, the highest the program has even been picked in the preseason since it joined the league in 2008.More >>
  • C-USA commissioner says league has bright future

    C-USA commissioner says league has bright future

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 7:29 PM EDT2014-07-23 23:29:27 GMT
    The commissioner of Conference USA sees his league at a "pivot point" with a bright future at a time when he says intercollegiate athletics are transitioning from conference realignment to system realignment.More >>
    The commissioner of Conference USA sees his league at a "pivot point" with a bright future at a time when he says intercollegiate athletics are transitioning from conference realignment to system realignment.
    More >>