Hatchett remembers segregated South

Mariana Silva

MLK celebration speaker talks about King’s impact.

MLK celebration speaker talks about King’s impact


Judge Glenda A. Hatchett told the audience what it was like to be a black girl growing up in a segregated world yesterday evening at the Student Center Ballroom.


“I’m old enough to remember a segregated South,” said Hatchett at the event initiating Martin Luther King Jr.’s Celebration at Kent State yesterday afternoon.


The judge said she was curious to know whether the water had a different taste in the white’s only water fountains, and she recalled the first two words she learned: white and colored.


Hatchett said she remembered being pushed over by two boys when she tried to drink from the white’s only fountain.



“They said, ‘n—–, get out of here.’” Hatchett said she initially thought her grandmother was angry with her, but later realized “she was frightened to death.”


After Brown v. Board of Education, Hatchett said she went to a separate, but not equal school.


Hatchett remembered waiting several weeks to receive a book from her teacher, only to find its pages torn apart. The teacher told her colored children didn’t get new books.


Later, Hatchett said she found out the books they used at her school, as well as its chairs and desks, were picked from the trash by school janitors. The school couldn’t afford to buy new supplies.


“Because of Dr. King,” Hatchett said, “my children will never know that story.”


After an introduction by university officials, a video montage and performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by Voices of Testimony, Hatchett told the audience:


“This is going to be an unconventional Martin Luther King speech because I want to talk about him, but I want to talk about us. I want to talk about now. I want to talk about our situation and what would Dr. King say.”


She asked the audience what Dr. King would think of today’s elevated numbers of crime, dropouts and teen pregnancy among minorities.


The judge talked about how Martin Luther King Jr. believed in a “beloved community” and “human beings.” She told students how he envisioned a community where all people regardless of color, race or religion would be treated the same.


“He had a vision for his people,” said junior nursing major Lenetee Allen, 20. “He wanted us to do better as a people, not breaking each other down how they do now.”


Sophomore nursing major Molly Collingwood, 19, said she always admired the way Dr. King talked about equality for all men.


“It’s not giving up on what you believe,” Collingwood said, “and staying strong even though the majority groups might think different. As an American citizen, you can believe in anything you want.”


Years after segregation ended, Hatchett said she came to understand her father’s words the day she came home from school, upset she couldn’t have a new book, only to find out her dad could not get her one either.


He told her to go get her crayons and write her own story.


“When the pages are torn, this is when we’ve got to reach deep and write a new story,” she said. “And we are going to write a new story.”


Contact diversity reporter Mariana Silva at [email protected].