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Partners of the Heart
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Early Years
Pearl High
Living with Segregation
Pivotal Decisions
African American Medical Pioneers

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Living with Segregation: At School

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I knew we had old textbooks. I could see the old textbooks from other white high schools like the math books or the algebra book -- clearly a hand-me-down.
-- Kwame Lillard, Nashville civil rights leader

For every dollar invested in white public schools, the Nashville Board of Education only spent fifty cents for black schools. Black teachers were paid less than their white colleagues. New programs instituted in the progressive era were channeled to white institutions, while black schools were systematically neglected.

Video: Kwame Lillard
Kwame Lillard
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I knew it was a little raggedy. But the Pythagorean theorem is ancient. It's all in that book anyway. So, you learn the material to fight with... Our teachers told us to look past the age of the book. Don't worry about it, where it comes from. That's a game to try and throw you off, you know. And -- it didn't work. We got the information from our teachers who told us, you got to be prepared, son.
-- Kwame Lillard, Nashville civil rights leader

On February 23, 1942, my older brother Harold filed suit on his own behalf and on behalf of others, challenging the validity of the action of the Board of Education of Nashville, Tennessee, in establishing fixed schedules of compensation for teachers which provided considerably larger salaries for white teachers than for Negro teachers having the same qualifications.
-- Vivien Thomas, in his autobiography

Find out more about the outcome of one of the first successful civil rights cases, argued by future Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall.

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