About The Hillsboro Storysynopsis
On July 5, 1954, Lincoln School, the "colored" elementary school near Smokey Row, in Hillsboro, Ohio went up in flames; and my sweet, segregated hometown was suddenly awake. The County Engineer, a white man determined to force integration, struck the match on that hot summer night that sent him to the state penitentiary (and into the FBI files) and sparked five African American mothers to stage a two-year protest. The "school fight" caught the attention of Thurgood Marshall at NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) headquarters in New York City. Marshall, who led the powerful team of attorneys to the Brown v. Board of Education victory (May 1954), sent one of his chief strategists, Constance Baker Motley, to Ohio to represent the Mothers in the first test case for the Brown decision in the North.
I was in the third grade, absorbing the cultural commotion, which was quickly and quietly thrown into the dump heap of history and reduced to two one-liners: "The Negro women were trouble-makers. The County Engineer was crazy." Fifty years after seeing the Marching Mothers outside Mrs. Mallory's classroom window, I went back to my hometown to find them.
The investigation is informed by historical research, photography, and extensive interviews with key players locally and nationally, whose voices form the heart of the story.