In the summer of 1965, when I was ten years old, my father was asked to serve on a special committee created by the Atlanta Board of Education. He was told he would be paid as a summer school teacher if he agreed to serve.
As a coach and teacher who earned income to support our family during the summer months by working in recreational departments, unloading trucks, selling encyclopedias and teaching driver’s education, this opportunity seemed too good to turn down.
He was paired with a white woman who taught girls’ physical education and coached at another school. They were to compare physical education, health and sports opportunities in white and Black high schools.
Other educators were working on the report in the areas of math, science, social studies, language arts, technical education and the arts. The purpose of the exercise was clear for this all-white committee—even if unspoken. This was to be a defense of the idea that segregated schools may be separate, but they were, in fact, equal.
My dad enjoyed the work with his female colleague. They met Black educators and coaches and made new friends. They discovered things that both surprised and troubled them.
Health textbooks made their way to the Black schools after being fully used and discarded by white schools. They discovered inequities in coaching staff size, sports offered— especially for Black girls— in facilities and athletic training. Sports team equipment and uniforms were often handed down after use in white schools.
Dad and Coach Bryant, his partner, made their findings known. They wrote the truth about inequities.
After their summer of honest investigation, they concluded that the separate education provided based on race in Atlanta Public Schools was in no way equal when it came to physical, health education and athletics. By writing this truth, their words took on life.
Black coaches reached out in appreciation and with no small admission of surprise that the truth had been written. When a story is told truthfully, when the words are written down, the story takes on flesh. The story dwells in our midst.
Then we can behold truth and perhaps even envision the grace of transformation. Once the words of truth regarding “separate but equal” were written in many ways by many brave women and men, the unjust lie of claiming segregated education gave equal opportunity to all was exposed in the light of these words that took on flesh, to dwell among us.
Almost 60 years have passed, and there are still so many stories that need to be told to expose injustice, meanness, unfairness and exclusion. There are positive stories of authentic inclusion, transformation and justice being practiced that also need to be told as well.
Good Faith Media uses its multifaceted media voice to tell these stories. Online columns and stories, podcasts, a bi-monthly print journal, storytelling through video, transformational experiences, book publishing and workshops. All these offerings enable GFM to be a catalyst for the word becoming flesh, to dwell in our midst.
With particular emphasis on initiatives such as the development of a true