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Former Student Bussed To Grady High Recalls Life Before School’s Name Change

Yolanda King is seen in class in the early 70s at former Grady High School.
Yolanda King is seen in class in the early 70s at former Grady High School.
Credit Courtesy of Grady High School Yearbook

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark case, Brown vs. Board of Education, voided separate but equal public schools.

Years later, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. continued the push for black students, in particular, to have guaranteed equal access to quality education. Although Dr. King didn’t live to see his eldest daughter, Yolanda, attend a predominately white school,  life-long friend Angela Robinson was along for the journey.

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Angela Robinson(Courtesy of Grady High School Yearbook)

As part of a Minority to Majority program, Robinson, Yolanda and others were bused from their black neighborhoods to what was then called Grady High—-a predominately white school named after Henry Grady, a journalist who many called racist.

Henry Grady’s presumed ties to white supremacy led to the school’s name being changed to Midtown High just recently. The student body voted in favor of the new name.

Robinson had hoped it would be named after her school mate, Yolanda King, so that it would underscore Dr. King’s never-ending quest for equitable education.

In this audio postcard,  she recalls to “Morning Edition” host Lisa Rayam what it was like back in the early 70s to land in what she calls very uncomfortable territory.