“I thought they’d get adjusted to me”

dorothy-6
ABOVE:
Dorothy Counts is  by surrounded by jeering white students on her first day at Harding High School.

212ON THIS DATE in 1957, fifteen-year-old Dorothy Counts withstood constant abuse on integrating Harding High School in Charlotte, North Carolina. A swarm of white boys yelled, “Go back where you came from!” and threw rocks and garbage as she entered the school. Inside, she heard chants of “You can have her, we don’t want her, she’s too black for me” during an assembly.

Four days later, Counts’ father pulled her out of the school after administrators and police officials said they couldn’t guarantee her safety. “I just don’t know what they might do,” Dorothy Counts told the Associated Press. “I thought they’d get adjusted to me but … I just don’t want anything to happen to me physically and I’d die if they hurt my parents.” She transferred to a private school in Philadelphia.

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