Originally published 02/12/2013
Sarah Carr is a contributing editor at The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education-news outlet based at Teachers College, Columbia University, and author of the forthcoming book Hope Against Hope.It took LaToysha Brown 13 years to realize how little interaction she had with white peers in her Mississippi Delta town: not at church, not at school, not at anywhere.The realization dawned when she was in the seventh grade, studying the civil rights movement at an after-school program called the Sunflower County Freedom Project. It didn't bother her at first. By high school, however, Brown had started to wonder if separate could ever be equal. She attended a nearly all-black high school with dangerous sinkholes in the courtyard, spotty Internet access in the classrooms, and a shortage of textbooks all around. Brown had never been inside Indianola Academy, the private school most of the town's white teenagers attend. But she sensed that the students there had books they could take home and walkways free of sinkholes."The schools would achieve so much more if they would combine," said Brown, now age 17 and a junior.
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