A Time to Be Silent and a Time to Speak Up

  • Sandra Edmonds Crewe Howard University


This narrative recounts the author's experiences beginning in 1965 as one of the first group of Black students to integrate a previous all-White high school in Halifax County in Virginia. She subsequently drew upon these experiences as a social worker and advocate for equality in public housing, and in doing qualitative research on the desegregation experiences ofBlack students in Halifax County. This research revealed the important roles of survivors, thrivers, friends, and supporters among the cohort of Black students on the jrontlines of desegregation, following the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. The impact of the "silent majority "(those who kept silent in the face of racial injustice and oppression) is examined. Sharing this history provides an opportunity for "a time to speak up" and hopefully will encourage others to engage in acts of courage when they are in the presence of injustice.

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