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South Carolina’s Corridor of Shame

South Carolina teen Ty'Sheoma Bethea made history because she wrote a letter to lawmakers regarding the deplorable condition of her school. Writing the letter was basically a challenge by her principal, Amanda Burnette and Ty'Sheoma asked for 41 cents to mail her letter. Burnette faxed the letter to President Obama and the rest is history.

That simple act snowballed into a refocusing on the United States' unequal public education system and Ty'Sheoma's moments in the spotlight with First Lady Michelle Obama and many top reporters and journalists. She also refocused the nation's attention on South Carolina's 'Corridor of Shame'.

Upon initially hearing this young lady's story, I did not realize that I could relate it to one of my favorite Jon Voight movies, Conrack, based on the experiences of a white teacher in a rural black school isolated from much of society. Since my mother's family is from the Carolinas --- (yes, I am Geechee and proud) --- I often wondered if any of the people depicted in the film were my relatives.

Not much has changed since Pat Conroy documented his South Carolina teaching experience in his book, The Water Is Wide: A Memoir [1972], and it was made into the movie, Conrack in 1974.

Please see the trailer of the documentary 'Corridor of Shame' and then ask yourself how South Carolina Governor Mark Stanford can refuse economic stimulus money to help repair his state's schools. This is really happening in America. Now. It's South Carolina's shame and the shame of America.


© 2009, Vanessa: Unplugged!,

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