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countsdorothy-4

That’s when I saw the photograph.
Facing us, on every newspaper kiosk
on that wide, tree-shaded boulevard in Paris
were photographs of fifteen-year-old Dorothy Counts
being reviled and spat upon by the mob
as she was making her way to school
in Charlotte, North Carolina.

There was unutterable pride, tension, and anguish
in that girl’s face
as she approached the halls of learning,
with history, jeering, at her back.

It made me furious,
it filled me with both hatred and pity.
And it made me ashamed.

– James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro (New York: Vintage, 2017)