To level the playing field, they leveled the school
Kids across America are still suffering the effects of harmful "separate but equal" education, despite the clear advantages of desegregation.
To see our way to the future we need only look at the past --
Leveling Lincoln explores the history behind the landmark 1961 desegregation case of Taylor vs. Board of Education of New Rochelle, NY where an entire elementary school had to be torn down to achieve a level playing field in education. The case, the first of its kind in the North (seven years after Brown vs. The Board of Education), was praised on the floor of the United States Senate as an example of successful integration by peaceful protest, discourse, and jurisprudence. In its wake New Rochelle emerged as a flourishing multi-cultural community and serves as a model for how to achieve educational parity for all our children.
In contrast to the Ruby Bridges or the Linda Brown stories in the South, the New Rochelle case had hundreds of children bused to schools without calling out the National Guard. All because of a group of dedicated parents who took action. They knew their children were being given an inferior education in a city that prided itself on its diverse school population. And they did something about it.
Each interviewee was asked:
We flash back through photos and documents as they speak about their parents, teachers and classmates, and reflect on being part of a social experiment that began on their first days of kindergarten, after the implementation of state sponsored busing. They reflect upon their own children and grandchildren as they worry for their future.
It's also a story of how a community came together at the grassroots level to reject the accepted de facto segregation of their town (due to red-lining) and recognize how its history of priviledge made them blind to systemic inequality.
It's a story of historical national importance that attracted the attention of figures like Thurgood Marshall and CBS' Mike Wallace.
Ultimately, we analyze the problems and solutions that the New Rochelle School District dealt with and glean what lessons can be learned and applied to today's equally challenging educational issues.
Directed and Produced by Arden Teresa Lewis of AT LEWIS Films. Produced in association with Tinks Lovelace of BAG O' BONES Collective.
SEED AND SPARK Campaign for Finishing Funds Launching September 16th, 2020!
So proud to be listed on From The Heart Productions LIST OF HOT FILMS IN THE MAKING
List of Donors:
From our successful Go Fund Me Drive in order of receipt!
Rachel Kabasakalian McKay
Steve & Anne Oto
Craig and Karen Lewis
Louise Robynn Vaughn
Linda Rand (RIP)
James L. Fisher
Barbara Loewentheil Murray
Cathy and John Cygan (RIP)
Cathy Lind Hayes
Spike Dolomite Ward
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