Five takeaways from The Lincoln School Story

Dr. Carlotta Penn, second from left, answers a question during Ohio Humanities' panel at Case Western Reserve University Law School after a screening of 'The Lincoln School Story'

Thanks for joining Ohio Humanities and the Social Justice Law Center at Case Western Reserve University School of Law for a screening of The Lincoln School Story last week! We’re grateful to the Social Justice Institute, the Black Law Student Association, and the Black History Exhibit Planning Committee at CWRU for cosponsoring the program.

Jenny Hamel, host of Sound of Ideas on WKSU/Ideastream Public Media, moderated a wonderful conversation with civil rights attorney James Hardiman, historian Melvin Barnes, Jr., Emerita Professor Marilyn Sanders Mobley, PhD, and Carlotta Penn, founder of Daydreamers Press and author of Step by Step: How the Lincoln School Marchers Blazed a Trail to Justice.

Here are five takeaways from the program:

  1. Although many people view the Brown v. Board of Education decision as an end point, Brown in many ways marked a new beginning of the fight for school desegregation. Citizens everywhere, like Black mothers in Hillsboro, Ohio, had to fight every step of the way to ensure that the decision was meaningful.
  2. When school districts evaded desegregation after Brown, seemingly “good and law abiding citizens” were complicit in the violation of Black students’ constitutional rights.
  3. Facing inequitable educational systems, Black parents have a long tradition of advocating on behalf of their children. Marilyn Mobley, PhD shared her personal experience persuading her son’s school to place him in the fourth grade rather than isolate him in the library to complete an advanced curriculum on his own.
  4. Young people can learn hard histories. Carlotta Penn pointed out that children have a strong sense of fairness, and they understand that segregation resulted in the unfair treatment of Black children, including the Lincoln School Marchers. Books like Step by Step show young readers how brave mothers and students just like them changed the course of history.
  5. Our Brown @ 70 series highlights the ways Ohio Humanities invests in impactful programming that promote reflection on hard histories. Events like documentary screenings and panel discussions encourage Ohioans to ask questions and engage in meaningful conversation about the cultural, civic, and community issues we collectively face. Click here to explore our events calendar!

Documentaries like The Lincoln School Story highlight the courage and resilience of the human spirit. They also help us imagine a more just future, one where we recognize our shared humanity.  

Click here to learn more about the story behind the film through discussion questions, children’s activities, and more!