Mrs. Esther Vaughn's Speech Summary

500 Words 2 Pages
As a student born and raised in the south, segregation and the civil rights movement were subjects often studied. However, this tends to be rather impersonal. When Mrs. Esther Vaughn came to speak at Rome High School, in Rome, Georgia, the civil rights movement became tangible. Her personal story transformed a period of time that seemed light years away into something that could be viewed through her eyes. Two points in her speech about her youth stuck out to me: her lack of interaction with white people and the lack of significant violence in Rome yet the underlaid cruelty.
Mrs. Vaughn was an run-of-the-mill person in this movement. She did not participate in any sit ins, and she didn’t attend the March on Washington. She also did not have any experiences with white people. She said in her speech, “On my street everyone looked like me,” and “I really didn’t spend much time around the white kids.” She didn’t have any particular stories about run-ins with sympathetic or rude white people. Despite what people seem to believe, that tended to be the norm in most towns. Segregation generally did its job and kept
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Rome didn’t have a famous rebellion coupled with violence, such as was in Montgomery. In fact, Mrs. Vaughn said only 62 people were arrested of approximately 230 participants in sit-ins. She claimed, “It was pretty quiet here unlike some other places.” Rome was a small town with few, moderate uprisings, if they could even be called that. However, this does not mean the arrested were not treated cruelly. Mrs Vaughn said, “Those that were sent to jail were treated like dirt, with 12 or 13 to each cell.” Rome may have been a sleepy southern town with a lack of significant violence, but it was still a city with many faults. The lack of shootings or church bombings does not make a city perfect or peaceful. Despite the fact violence wasn’t widespread, black people did not lead easy, simple

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