Organized by CORE, two integrated groups of Freedom Riders enter Alabama on May 14, 1961. reports Dicken Elementary School Principal Mike Madison sent black students on a special trip to hear from a black rocket engineer. Some thought America’s first black President would usher in a post racial era. Instead it seems to be doing the very opposite.

An Ann Arbor elementary school principal used a letter home to parents tonight to defend a field trip for black students as part of his school’s efforts to close the achievement gap between white and black students.

… Mike Madison wrote the letter to parents following several days of controversy at the school after a field trip last week in which black students got to hear a rocket scientist. …

[Madison wrote in response to parents’ complaints about field trip,] “… as I reflect upon the look of excitement, enthusiasm and energy that I saw in these children’s eyes as they stood in the presence of a renowned African American rocket scientist in a very successful position, it gave the kids an opportunity to see this type of achievement is possible for even them.”

“It was not a wasted venture for I know one day they might want to aspire to be the first astronaut or scientist standing on the Planet Mars.”

Why white children could not share in the “excitement, enthusiasm and energy” of seeing a black rocket scientist, is beyond me. Neither can I grasp why white children would not see a black rocket scientist as someone embodying the “type of achievement … possible for even them.”

Compounding the Principal Madison’s segregated event is the reporter’s soft-pedaling the event’s nature. The story’s lede puts the emphasis on Madison’s response rather than the parents’ outrage. Imagine, if you can, a Caucasian’s only student club sent on a field trip to hear from a leading entrepreneur while black students were kept in class. Does anyone imagine this reporter would open his story in the same manner?

Two cultural influence professionals, an academic and a journalist, the former explicitly and the latter implicitly, promoting the idea that black students must be separated from their white classmates and seated before a black professional in order to “aspire to be the first astronaut or scientist standing on the Planet Mars.”

Despite his “intent,” Madison created an event that separated students by race, giving one group a benefit that others were denied. Floyd, at, nailed it with this line: “Hey everybody! Let’s go on a field trip! Whoa Whoa Whoa! Not so fast whitey.”