Children's book series to share stories of local Black History

NOW: Children’s book series to share stories of local Black History

SOUTH BEND, Ind --- On Wednesday ABC57 shared the story of a once segregated public swimming pool transformed into the Civil Rights Heritage Center, now the center is helping launch a children’s book series to educate future generations about the struggles against injustice.

The series “Ripples in the Water” was inspired by Barbara V. Brandy, a little black girl denied entry at the former natatorium because of the color of her skin.

Her son who's the author of the first book in the series told ABC57 he believes it’s important for kids in the area to know and learn from stories like these.

“Planting those seeds early can change the life of how someone sees other people and that is during the building blocks of that age group that were including in the that seven through nine,” said Kenneth Brandy the Executive Director of Ripples in the Water and Barbara V. Brandy Foundation.

Kenneth Brandy is Barbara’s son, a local civil rights icon known as the little six-year-old black girl in the red bathing suit, once denied from the former segregated natatorium in the 1930’s because of the color of her skin.

Kenneth learned about his mother’s experience at just three-years-old and he says it’s not only important for him to share her story with other children but also to share how so many overcame injustices here in south bend.

“I think that it is important because it tells a story that there is no level to discrimination it can be done at all levels and then and metaphorically and sometimes physically today.”

“This book series is a great event that will occur over the next years here in town provide voices out of the past but for the future,” added Joe Chaney an English Professor at Indiana University South Bend and the Director of Wolfson Press.

The organizations said they also hope to get Michiana students involved on all levels in an effort to share educate and connect them to local Black History.

“To have our students collaborate with local students, the artist who will be creating the artwork and hopefully potentially some local students working on graphic design,” explained Indiana University South Bend English Professor Kelcey Ervick who’s also the director of Publication Center.

“To be able to connect it to that they walked the same streets, they may have gone to the same school, you know they may know their grandchildren, they can make a connection to it and hopefully build something positive off of what happened to these icons that we’ll be covering in this book series,” added Brandy.

The series is a collaborative effort between the Brandy Foundation, IUSB’s Civil Rights Heritage Center and Wolfson press.

The first book will share Barbara’s story "The Little Girl in the Red Bathing Suit" and is set to launch next February.

The foundation also said they hope to continue launching new books every year that will be shared beyond Black History Month.


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