The Memphis 13 Honored at Bruce Elementary – CA

Quoting Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to the crowd at Bruce Elementary Monday afternoon, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen noted the arc of the moral universe only bends toward justice because of people who take action.

People like the Memphis 13.

“They helped bend that arc toward justice,” Cohen said in his speech, part of a ceremony at the elementary school that honored the three members of the Memphis 13 who attended Bruce.

Monday marked the 55th anniversary of the 13 black first-grade students who integrated four all-white Memphis elementary schools in 1961. The three who attended Bruce — Harry Williams, Menelik Fombi and Dwania Kyles — participated in Monday’s celebration at the school.
Fombi told the crowd, made up of the full student body along with teachers and parents, about the stark difference he noticed in Bruce from his time there in 1961 to the tour he went on last week — and not just because it’s a new building.

“I felt love” on the tour, Fombi said, contrasting that feeling with what he described as a lack of love in the first grade at Bruce in 1961.

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