Students at Benjamin E. Mays High School got a special history lesson Tuesday.
"Jan. 14, 1963, George Wallace was sworn in as governor of Alabama and said, 'Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,'" said Brian Jones, a teacher at Mays.
None of the students in the classroom were alive when Wallace said those infamous words, but they're learning about them and the civil rights movement on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, D.C.
"It is a perfect opportunity for students to reflect now on exactly where we are in reference to integration, as opposed to segregation, which back in 1963 we were dealing with," said Tyronne Smith, the principal at Mays.
The students' research uncovered the shameful facts.
"Back then, if you tried to vote, you'd be arrested or killed," said Rashaad Alford, a student at Mays.
The students at Mays have opportunities not available during those dangerous and deadly times. Tuesday they are learning why that is.
"Our hope is our students will realize there has been a struggle in the past. Things appear today the way we want to appear because of a struggle. Freedom came at a price, and we don't want to live with freedom and not understand exactly what happened or how we got to this point," said Smith.
Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.