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The Lincoln School Story

The 1954 fight for school desegregation led by a handful of Ohio mothers and children.

A printer-friendly version of this page 27 minutes
SDH Captioned>>

Directed by Andrea Torrice
Produced by Andrea Torrice
Cinematographer Melissa Godoy
Associate Producer: Nicki Davis
Story Consultant: Kati Burwinkel
Music: Brian Lovely
Graphic Design & Animation: Paula Kinsel
A Torrice Media Production

"I love this film...Black mothers...fought with dignity and relentless determination to make rights real." Gary Orfield, Prof. Education, UCLA
THE LINCOLN SCHOOL STORY examines the little-known fight for school desegregation led by a handful of Ohio mothers and their children in 1954. In the wake of Brown v. Board of Education, school districts nationwide were mandated to integrate. But when African American mothers in Hillsboro, Ohio, tried to enroll their children in the local, historically white schools, the school board refused to comply.

Five mothers and their children took the school board to court. With Constance Baker Motley as the lead lawyer and help from a fledgling NAACP chapter, they started one of the nation's first civil rights marches to end school segregation. While the lawsuit wound through the courts, the mothers and children marched every day, in spite of threats, cross burnings and job losses.

They marched in sun, rain and snow for nearly two years until the mothers won their court case. Their children became the first Black students to attend a high-quality local elementary school. Their judicial victory in the Midwest inspired Black parents in communities across the country.

Grade Level: 7 - 12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2024     Copyright Date: 2023
DVD ISBN: 1-961192-12-8

"I love this film. In The Lincoln School Story, we learn about the battle that Black mothers in Hillsboro, Ohio fought and won against the determination of local whites to keep their children in the sadly misnamed and extremely unequal Lincoln school. They would not accept defeat, and fought with dignity and relentless determination to make rights real. This country has long been indebted to strong Black women defending basic rights, including those now leading in the battle against racism which is arising again in our polarized country."
Gary Orfield, Professor of Education, Law, Political Science and Urban Planning, Co-Director of Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles, University of California Los Angeles

"The Lincoln School Story provides a captivating and powerful account of foot soldiers in a grassroots campaign to dismantle racial segregation in the public schools of Hillsboro, Ohio. What makes the story - and the documentary - memorable is the unyielding protest of the parents and children. Against the odds and pronounced opposition, they marched, defying expectations, combatting bigotry, and re-writing history. This film is a much-needed resource, one that teaches us about the unheralded people who battled for freedom and justice across the United States of America."
Bobby Donaldson, Associate Professor of History, Executive Director, Center for Civil Rights History and Research, University of South Carolina

"The Lincoln School Story underscores the strength and resilience of Black Women who fought to ensure access to quality education for their children. The film illuminates how segregation and anti-black racism permeated our nation's education system, challenging old beliefs that racism was primarily confined to the south."
Marne L. Campbell, Associate Professor, African American Studies, Loyola Marymount University, Author, Making Black Los Angeles: Class, Gender, and Community, 1850-1917

"The Lincoln School Story foregrounds the activism of mothers in examining the Black community's nearly two-year campaign to end school segregation in Hillsboro, Ohio, during the 1950s. Contemporary interviews with participants in the school desegregation protest campaign are inspirational and illuminating. Skillfully weaving compelling personal narratives into the broader context of Black Freedom Struggles, The Lincoln School Story is an excellent resource for classrooms serving students ages 12 and up."
Christopher Bonastia, Professor of Sociology, Lehman College-CUNY, Author, The Battle Nearer to Home: The Persistence of School Segregation in New York City

"Compelling...The Black mothers and their children's two-year protest is supported by fascinating oral history testimonies. They were determined in their efforts to integrate the two all-white schools rather than return their children to a dilapidated and arson-damaged all-Black school. This story sheds light on the way that local communities responded to national laws on desegregation and reveals the challenges and successes brought about by determined resistance to unequal educational opportunities. Well worth watching, this documentary adds to historical understanding of school desegregation in the 1950s."
Chara Haeussler Bohan, Professor of Educational Policy Studies, Georgia State University, Co-author, Teaching Enslavement in American History

"The Lincoln School Story is a compelling and untold story of the efforts of five brave and determined mothers and their children in their two-year struggle to integrate the schools in the small town of Hillsboro, Ohio. Demanding the local school board honor the 1954 Supreme Court decision to dismantle segregated schools, after two years of marching and protesting, the schools were finally integrated in 1956. The action of these persistent mothers served as a model for other communities throughout the country to follow suit."
Linda Perkins, Professor and Director of Applied Women's Studies, Claremont Graduate University

"This documentary tells the little-known story of an important, persistent demand for civil and human rights in the history of mid-western Black education. Highlighting the critical role of Black mothers in this years-long protest for educational justice, this features some of the very students who participated and mothers who led the charge. A needed and useful resource for a wide range of audiences, The Lincoln School Story portrays the incredible sacrifice Black communities have long made for the quality education they have always deserved."
ArCasia James-Gallaway, Assistant Professor of Teaching, Learning and Culture, Texas A and M University, Author, Ordinary Sites: Black Students, Gender, and Class in 1970s Texas School Desegregation

"Seventy years after the Brown v Board of Education decision we realize that Brown was not just one fight. Indeed, it was many fights, often fought community by community throughout the nation. The Lincoln School Story shines a light on the courageous women in Hillsboro, Ohio who were willing to put their lives on the line for their children and their education."
Gloria Ladson-Billings, Professor Emerita of Urban Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Author, The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African-American Children

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... more Reviews

"The Lincoln School Story is a poignant, powerful and searing story of separate and unequal schooling in Appalachia and beyond. Haunting historical footage and raw testimony lays bare our national sin of racial segregation. The film spotlights the courageous mothers who, amid persistent resistance and racial violence fought, fought and then fought even more for a better way."
Susan E. Eaton, Director, Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy, Professor of the Practice in Social Policy, Brandeis University, Author, The Children in Room E4: American Education on Trial

"The Lincoln School Story weaves another thread into the tapestry of pain, resilience and righteousness that is the Black Freedom struggle. It tells a little known but important story of African American mothers in a small Ohio town determined to make the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision mandating desegregation of America's public schools a reality for their children. Their courage reminds us of the power we all have to make our world a better place."
Lorraine C. Minnite, Associate Professor, Public Policy and Administration, Rutgers University-Camden, Co-author, Keeping Down the Black Vote: Race and the Demobilization of American Voters

"'Let us march on 'til victory is won' appears to be the mantra of five brave Black mothers in this film. Everyone, school-age children, teachers, graduate students, professors, community leaders, politicians, and businessmen should see The Lincoln School Story . It represents one of many untold stories that lay bare the extraordinary acts of resistance by Black Americans in order for their children to receive a free public education on par with White children."
Dr. Vanessa Garry, Associate Professor of Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis

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