Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Louis L. Redding Middle School Rocks!

As in life, there are constant changes in the DuBose family. Just recently, we have been gearing up for middle school...yes, middle school! (for all of my non-Delaware folks, Sasha is only in 5th grade not 6th as she would be in NJ because our cut off date is early-September 1st.) Anyway, it's been a time of nervousness and anxiety for Sasha, but not for the normal things a child would be nervous or anxious about attending a new school. Let me back up a minute. In Delaware there is something called school choice where you can apply for your child to attend a different school than their normal feeder school. We elected to do that for our girls when they left private school and returned to public school. Now that Sasha is moving to a new school, I "choiced" her again to try to keep her with familiar friends. Well no one foresaw a school budget shortfall or a tax increase not passing, so long story short, we were not accepted to our choice school-no biggie...or so I thought. 

The degree of fear, ignorance, and prejudice I have encountered from well-meaning parents when telling them and more importantly, my Sasha telling friends where she would be attending school, has disturbed me to the point of wanting to take to the blog. "What's the big deal?" my non-Delawarean people ask. Well Louis L. Redding Middle School is the town middle school that borders the two-three block stretch of town that is predominantly African-American and carries a sigma longer than my time here in Delaware. So in true Kai form I set out to find out as much as I could about Louis L. Redding Middle School and the history behind the man who the school is named for. 

Louis L. Redding Middle School was built in 1952 and began as the African American school for the district. Louis Lorenzo Redding was Delaware's first African American lawyer. He was born in 1901 and grew up in Wilmington, Delaware. His father was one of the first African American postal workers in Delaware which gave Louis and his siblings the ability to grow up in a house and focus on school rather than work. Louis Redding went on to attend Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and was one of only six African America men in his Ivy League class. Mr. Redding realized while at Brown University there were no African America lawyers in Delaware, but had met many during his time in Providence. Redding went on to attend Harvard Law School and then returned to Delaware to practice law. Redding was the only black lawyer in Delaware for nearly 25 years. He joined other lawyers in 1954, with the NAACP and successfully argued and won the historic Brown v. Board of Education case before the Supreme Court that desegregated schools across the nation. 

So again, not trying to make my blog posts so lengthy, but this one is important and personal to me. My daughter is about to attend a school that carries a rich history-one that I cannot wait to share with her. One that I hope she absorbs and carries with pride. I have a Romare Bearden poster of Brown v. Board of Education that anyone who knows me from college on, has seen hanging in my rooms and it is still with me now in my house (about to re-frame it actually). I spoke to my daughter this morning and told her not to let anyone, ANYONE make her feel where she will go to school is any less than where they will attend. She is going to attend a fabulous school with teachers and staff who are dedicated and skilled individuals-just like at all of the other schools in town. Sasha is blessed enough to go to a school that carries a rich history that in many ways is intertwined with our own family history. I am excited to be a part of a school named for a man who did so much for Delaware and our nation and I will make sure she is too. (so much more I want to say, but I'm going to refrain since I am really trying to shorten these blog