Kaila's Reflections: Documentaries and Articles / by Evey Sekajipo

During my internship, I have also had the privilege of reading a myriad of articles and documentaries about being black. One of the articles that I read was called Girlhood Interrupted, which focused on the adultification of black girls. In the article, people were surveyed on what they thought black girls (or white girls) were knowledgeable about concerning adult topics, and more people that black girls knew these things. The authors tied these assumptions that black girls are older than they are with how they are treated in the criminal justice system and schools. Punishment of black girls for misdemeanors outweighs that of white girls, at times for the same behaviors. The expectation that black girls know better, and just “act out” to be troublesome, has made it hard for them to reach their goals academically, as they are being removed from schools and punished. One of the documentaries that I watched was Parts 1 and 2 of the Eyes on My Prize documentary series. In the documentary, they talk about various events in black history, specifically the murder of Emmett Till, the Little Rock Nine, the Montgomery bus boycotts, and the story of James Meredith and his enrollment to Ole Miss (University of Mississippi). I learned about the murder of Emmett Till in college, but I had never heard of the story of James Meredith and Ole Miss. I think it was very brave of him to go to the school and decide that getting his education at the school he believed would best serve him and that it was worth been sneered at and mocked, and eventually, due to his perseverance, he was admitted to the school. The same can be said of the Little Rock Nine, especially of Elizabeth Eckerd, who walked to the school by herself amidst the jeers of the mob of white people surrounding her. Meredith’s story epitomizes one of the values that Mama Africana holds dear: that education can open a lot of doors. By blocking access to education as Governor Ross Barnett and Governor Orville Faubus did, they debilitated the black children’s opportunity not only make a life for themselves, but to acquire knowledge, and know their rights. The amount of political strain that these children had to endure just to go to school is something that has changed our history for the rest of time, and I am grateful for their bravery and those who stood behind them in their quest for an education.