Dorothy Counts was the daughter of a Johnson C. Smith University professor. At age 15, she became the first #black student to attend Charlotte’s all-white Harding High School. This action challenged segregation, the practice of keeping people separated according to their race.
On September 4, 1957, she and three other students broke the “color barrier” that had denied them admission to Charlotte’s best schools simply because the students were black.
On that day, an angry crowd greeted Dorothy Counts. People threw rocks and screamed “Go back where you came from.” Reporters and photographers came to witness and record the conflicts. Violence erupted in other cities where black students tried to enter all-white schools. Events such as these were part of a long struggle for equality, called “civil rights.”
Counts’ family was concerned for her safety and sent her to Pennsylvania to finish high school.