Author, Derrick P. Alridge
In the days leading up to August 11 and 12, 2017, when white nationalists and white supremacists converged on Charlottesville, Virginia for the Unite the Right Rally, I was interviewing former civil rights era teachers in my hometown of Rock Hill, South Carolina. From these teachers, I heard firsthand accounts of life growing up in the Jim Crow South. I learned that many became teachers not only to pursue an occupation, but also to challenge notions of black inferiority prevalent in Jim Crow society. These teachers wanted to give back to their communities and liberate the minds of their students, black and white. Their stories have inspired me and helped me to better contextualize what transpired in Charlottesville.