Fifty Years Ago, a Brighter Future Seemed Possible When Four African American Girls Officially Desegregated New Orleans' Public Schools

Photo by Jacques Morial

On November 14, 1960, three six year old African-American girls were escorted by US Marshals into McDonough 19, an all-white elementary school on Saint Claude Avenue in the Lower Ninth Ward.  The story of another girl, Ruby Bridges, who desegregated the William Frantz School, is well known, but the history of Leona Tate, Tessie Prevost Williams, and Gail Etienne Stripling – who, in climbing 18 steps into McDonough 19, took a mammoth stride forward in the battle to desegregate Orleans Parish Public Schools, has been largely overlooked.  Fifty years later, the contribution the “McDonough 3” made to the Civil Rights Movement was publicly honored.



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 © Eve Abrams 2010