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CHILDREN SWIMMING

At a Denton Texas Public Pool, 2010s

Three children swim together in a Denton pubic pool in the 21st century, blissfully unaware that this would not have been possible decades earlier.

Prior to the civil rights movement, African Americans were barred from most recreational facilities frequented by white people. Movie theaters, bowling allies, roller rinks and amusement parks were segregated. In his 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. described the tears in his daughter’s eyes when “she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children.” Integration of public pools caused special strife and contention. Some whites beat Afrcian American swimmers in Philidelphia, threw nails into the bottom of pools in Cincinnati, and poured acid into pools with black bathers in St. Augustine, Florida, and beat them up in Philadelphia.