In 1952, a ten-year-old girl named Ann Dunham invited a friend to come to her house to play.
It was a warm October afternoon in the Texas town where Ann lived, so she and her friend decided to play in the front yard beneath a big maple tree that had just begun to turn gold.
The two girls brought one of Ann’s favorite books and sat down on a blanket in the cool grass, their heads bent together over the pictures in the book.
One of the pictures made both girls laugh out loud, but their laughter died quickly as a sharp voice shouted at Ann from the street.
Ann and her friend looked up to see a small group of children from Ann’s school gathered just outside the fence.
The children were glaring at the two girls in disgust and pointing at Ann’s friend, who was black.
None of the children had ever seen a black child playing in their neighborhood before.
As all the children began shouting, Ann and her friend crouched low to the ground, trembling in fear.
One of the older boys began throwing rocks at the two girls while the rest of the group hurled insults.
At that moment, Ann’s mother, Madelyn, came walking down the sidewalk toward the house.
When she approached, the group of children quickly disappeared.
Madelyn Dunham shook her head, sighed, and walked over to her daughter and her daughter’s black friend and rested her hand on both of the girls’ heads.
“If you two are going to play, then for goodness sake, go on inside.
Both of you.”
Ann stood up to follow her mother, but Ann’s friend, still shaking, took off without a word, running down the street as fast as she could.
She never even looked back.
That evening, Ann’s father, Stanley, became furious when he learned that a group of children had shouted racist remarks and thrown rocks at his daughter and her friend.
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