Lincoln School Marchers: Jim Crow Overthrown In Hillsboro, Ohio By Black Mothers

Jim Crow continued in effect at Hillsboro, Ohio, elementary schools even after the famous Brown v. Board of Education case ruled it unlawful in 1954.

However, a group of Black moms and their kids in a community in southwest Ohio known as the “Lincoln School marchers” were committed to giving their children an integrated education. Following the U.S. Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, the protesters began what Ohio Humanities describes as “one of the longest persistent rallies of the civil rights era.”

According to Rebecca Asmo, executive director of Ohio Humanities, “the Lincoln School march, if you think about it, started a full year before the Montgomery bus boycott and lasted twice as long.”

Hillsboro’s three elementary schools remained separated even though its high schools had become integrated by 1946. According to Ohio Humanities, only white students were allowed to enter Webster and Washington schools, while Black students were only allowed into Lincoln.

Black moms marched to Webster and Washington waving picket signs, determined to enroll their kids in one of the “whites only” schools, only to be turned away and forced to teach their children at home in what they referred to as “kitchen schools.”

Daily demonstrations continued for two years until the school board gave in to the Lincoln School marchers’ demands, integrating the elementary schools in what Asmo called the “first northern test case of Brown v. Board of Education.”

A historian at the Highland County Historical County, Kati Burwinkle, said: “When you think how hectic your life is, imagine taking on, before I start my day, I’m going to dress up my kid, go two miles, receive some humiliation and go back home, set my kids up for school.” “That was an incredible commitment for two years.”

According to Burwinkle, who assisted in bringing the narrative of the Lincoln School marchers to light, it was a remarkable effort and a tale that hadn’t truly been told, in part due to a fear of consequences at the time and a concern of perception in subsequent years.

“I was informed that certain individuals were worried about going back in time and upsetting a certain aspect of the past. Additionally, they did not want to cause any stir, according to Burwinkle.

Many Black students have unjustly kept back one or two grades after they were given permission to attend white schools, according to Lincoln School marcher Myra Phillips. They frequently faced unfounded accusations and encountered discrimination in the school.

When I first entered, they forced me to sit by the restroom since I couldn’t sit with the other children, Phillips recalled. At the time, I simply reasoned, “I’m Black; I have to sit back here.” I never expressed this opinion, I just assumed it.

The marchers didn’t begin to understand what they had done until years later. Imogene Curtis, the mother of Eleanor Cumberland, organized the march; Eleanor said that she hadn’t appreciated the significance of her mother’s work.

Lincoln School Marchers Jim Crow Overthrown In Hillsboro
Lincoln School Marchers Jim Crow Overthrown In Hillsboro

“As a child, I never dreamed of the importance of what she was doing and the impact that it might make someday,” Cumberland said. She simply disliked seeing anyone treated differently.

The marchers who spoke with NBC4 had two key points to convey: first, they expressed their sincere gratitude to their mothers for diligently fighting for integrated, fair education. The second statement urges Ohioans to prevent history from being repeated, even though it is a warning.

Joyce Kittrell, a marcher from the Lincoln School, said, “I believe the issue for right now is to recognize that what we went through, we want to make sure that future students don’t have to go through the same circumstance.”

By visiting Ohio Humanities and viewing the complete documentary about the Lincoln School marchers and their influence on the country, you may find out more about the participants.

Dear readers, if you have any queries or suggestions, you can put them in our comment section by leaving a comment. Stay tuned with us for the latest updates.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top