Augusta, GA -
This weekend marks a milestone for education in the United States. It's the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court's ruling that integrated schools across the south. News Channel 6's Dee Griffin has a look at what this means for local students. Most of the court orders written to integrate schools have been vacated. We saw that happen here in 2013 when a judge lifted the desegregation order. I talked with the local NAACP about the past rulings impact on education's future. For years, separate but equal was the way of life for African Americans in the south. But, in 1954, when the NAACP stepped up for integrated education in schools the footprint would be felt for decades to come. Augusta NAACP President Dr. Charles Smith says, "it's a part of history that will never be forgotten. It's a part of history that does not need to be forgotten and a part of history that we as citizens and community leaders across this country need to be thankful for." Now, 60 years later, schools have become more inclusive and the racial makeup of students has evolved due to Brown versus the Board of Education. Although the signs of segregation have been removed and schools are legally bound to allow students of all races Dr. Charles Smith of the Augusta NAACP says the need for oversight remains the same. "That is still a concern because we don't know what the next school board will do in terms of bridging that gap and making sure that we don't go back to where we were," explains Dr. Smith. As American looks back to sixty years and reflect on what has been done to advance educational options for minorities, NAACP leaders say they are looking ahead to make sure the old ruling will never be forgotten. Dr. Smith says, "we don't want to go back to any segregated format but more or less while we're in a similar situation and integration is still here let's move forward because we should always be student centered and student focused." The Augusta NAACP is holding a 60th anniversary commemoration at the Lucy Laney Museum. Admission is free and open to the public. The Augusta NAACP is one of the few chapters that commemorate the anniversary of Brown versus the Board of Education.