Cars, Girls & High School - Life in The 60s
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More than three million school-age black children lived in the 17 states that continued to operate separate schools, along with 81 percent of all the nation's black population. In the Jim Crow states that stretched from Delaware to Texas, local school boards spent almost three times as much on each white student as they did on blacks.
The funding disparities in the Deep South states, where blacks outnumbered whites in hundreds of rural countries, were far greater. The largest chunk of the school budget in every district goes to pay teachers; and the salaries of black teachers during the s were far below those of whites. Poorly paid teachers are not necessarily poorly trained or unable to educate their students, but the meager wages of black teachers in the s did not lure the most promising college graduates into rural Jim Crow schools. Horace Mann Bond, a noted black educator, administered the Stanford Achievement Test to a large group of black teachers in Alabama schools in He discovered that their average score was below that of the national level of ninth-grade students.
Almost half of the black teachers had not mastered the material that eighth-graders were expected to know. And many of these teachers were assigned to teach students in grades above their own level of knowledge. During the late s, the American Council on Education sent a team of investigators into the Deep South to conduct a survey of the schools in which black children were educated.
These schools were, of course, segregated by law and long-standing custom. The report of the investigators who visited the black grade school in Dine Hollow, Ala. A typical rural Negro school is at Dine Hollow. It is in a dilapidated building, once whitewashed, standing in a rocky field unfit for cultivation. Dust-covered weeds spread a carpet all around, except for an uneven, bare area on one side that looks like a ball field. Behind the school is a small building with a broken, sagging door.
As we approach, a nervous, middle-aged woman comes to the door of the school. She greets us in a discouraged voice marked by a speech impediment.
When owning a car made you a god
Escorted inside, we observe that the broken benches are crowded to three times their normal capacity. Only a few battered books are in sight, and we look in vain for maps or charts. We learn that four grades are assembled here. The weary teacher agrees to permit us to remain while she proceeds with the instruction.
She goes to the blackboard and writes an assignment for the first two grades to do while she conducts spelling and word drills for the third and fourth grades. This is the assignment:. Write your name ten times. Draw an dog, an cat, an rat, an boot. What they said was both sad and sobering. Almost without exception, parents wanted their children to learn and succeed.
My daughter is the only one that goes now. The rest have to chop and pick right now, but they be going 'long soon.
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A tenant farmer in Shelby County, Tenn. If you don't make your crop, the white man will put somebody else here to do the work. The children go to school when there ain't no work for them in the fields, but where there is work, they has to stay home and do it. In Mississippi, where almost 90 percent of black farmers were tenants in , the average black child spent just 74 days in school, while the average in Virginia, with a tenancy rate of 38 percent, was days in school. Most black children in the Deep South attended school just 15 or 20 weeks each year in the s.
Very few of the black children who finished grade school in the s had the chance to attend high school. In , only 14 percent of those between 15 and 19 years old were enrolled in public secondary schools in southern states. From Virginia to Texas, only in North Carolina did as many as 20 percent of blacks attend high school; the rates in Mississippi and Georgia were 5 and 8 percent. A report on secondary education for blacks in showed that between them, the states of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina had a total of 16 black high schools accredited for four-year study.
66 Candid Images That Capture What Life Was Like In The '60s
This report also noted that "89 percent of all Negro secondary schools are essentially elementary schools with one or more years of secondary work included at the top—often at the expense of the lower school. Hardly any of these black high schools offered science courses or had laboratories, and very few had courses in foreign languages, music, or art. Their curriculum was limited and their teachers had little training in academic subjects. The educational status of blacks in the Jim Crow states remained abysmally low in , falling below the level of whites in Black adults in Mississippi had completed an average of 5.
For the nation as a whole, just one of every eight black adults had completed high school, while four of 10 whites had earned their diploma. While only nine percent of white adults had attended school for less than five years, 31 percent of blacks fell into this category. At the other end of the educational spectrum, almost 16 percent of white adults in had attended college and six percent had graduated; the figures for blacks were five and two percent. These numbers should be viewed with awareness of the glaring disparities in quality of the black and white schools in the Jim Crow states; a black student who completed eight years of schooling in one of these states had attended schools that were in session two months less each year, had been instructed by teachers whose own education averaged just 10 years, had used out-of-date, hand-me-down textbooks from white schools, and had received little help at home from parents who were most likely illiterate or barely able to read and write.
A white student who completed the eighth grade was almost certainly far ahead of the black child at the same grade level. The black community had no illusions about Jim Crow schools in In a special mid-century issue, the Journal of Negro Education asked leading black educators to assess the educational system. Without exception, these experts laid the blame for inferior black schools on racial segregation. Benjamin E. Mays, president of Morehouse College in Atlanta, wrote that the Jim Crow system "with its inevitable consequences of inequality has warped the minds and spirits of thousands of Negro youths.
They either grow to manhood accepting the system, in which case they aspire to limited, racial standards; or they grow up with bitterness in their minds. It is the rare Negro child who comes through perfectly normal and poised under the segregated system. Peters Irons is professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, director of the Earl Warren Bill of Rights Project, and a practicing civil rights and civil liberties attorney.
Photos: The romance of owning a car in the '60s. It's the car he would meet his future wife Linda in. She is seen here in , sitting on the car in front of his driveway in Columbus, Ohio. Hide Caption. She was ecstatic to find this candy apple red number in a Knoxville, Tennessee, used car lot, partly because it went perfectly with the red, white and blue peace decal that she had been saving for her first car.
Here, Bunting and his wife Judy stand beside the decorated Pontiac on their wedding night, in So if a guy did, he was considered way cool," Linda Glovach said.
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This is a photo of her boyfriend tending to his Chevrolet Chevelle in Elmont, New York, in He loved it because it was "very, very fast. Santiago said her father remembers it being a '59 model, but some intrepid CNN readers pointed out that it's actually from Alex Nunez, director of RoadandTrack.
The Oldsmobile was actually his older brother's car, but he was deployed to Vietnam from to , so McClain was able to drive it around for two years until his brother returned home. They didn't realize it at the time, but that car was a wedding present. Story highlights A car was the ultimate status symbol for teens in the s Movies, music and pop culture glamorized the '60s car scene Young men were groomed into car consumers at a young age s cars still evoke romantic memories and style for people today.
There were two distinct groups of guys in high school back in the '60s: Those who had cars, and those who didn't. For the sake of your reputation, you didn't want to be the kid without a car, says year-old Brian McDaniels. From the time he was 12, McDaniels counted the days until he could get his license.
He worked at a grocery store, sold ice cream and delivered newspapers just so he could buy a car as soon as he turned Two years later, he traded that car in for his shining glory, a Chevy Bel Air. The Chevy Bel Air was as amazing as he dreamed. This car was the center of his social life. It was where he listened to his local Columbus, Ohio, radio station's Top 40 hits for hours on end, where he ate countless meals with friends at the drive-thru, and where he had his first date with the girl of his dreams, the woman he eventually married.
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There was a certain culture when you got the car, you spent time with the car. The s era is known for its collection of trends and fads, from hippie fashion to British rock 'n' roll , but nothing defined youth culture more than the '60s car, says Matt Anderson, a historian and curator at The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Songs from bands like the Beach Boys romanticized the American car, and movies like "Goldfinger" and "Bullit" emphasized the power and speed of those classic '60s muscle cars, Anderson says.
Cars were the ultimate status symbol that set teens apart from their friends.