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Plight of the Girl: The Story of Dorothy Belle Young

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Project NIA

  • Chicago, IL

In December 1968, 14-year old Dorothy Belle Young and her 11-year-old sister Yvonne were arrested for “using profane language at school to white boys.” While Yvonne received probation, Dorothy was detained at the Regional Youth Development Center (a juvenile jail) in Sanderville, GA. Black residents of Sylvester, GA, a town of 5,000 where the girls and their family lived, mobilized in support of Dorothy. They claimed that the sisters and their other siblings were being punished for integrating an all-white school. National Civil Rights figures also came to Dorothy’s defense including Coretta Scott King and Dr. Ralph Abernathy who traveled to Sylvester to lead protests. This publication offers a glimpse at a history of the criminalization of Black girls. It includes beautiful illustration and some activities. The publication was created with high school students in mind. We invite you to download, print and share the publication. Let us know how you use it and send us feedback of how students respond.

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