50 Years Forward: Teaching the Younger Generation

The stories of African-Americans fighting for equality are etched in the pages of history books worldwide, and for one Birmingham man, the valuable lessons of determination, hard work, and persistence are printed on a more intimate place.{}"I got Harriet Tubman right there," said DeMarcus Pruitt.{}Pruitt, 26, has hundreds of tattoos on his body. {}All of them have an historical reference and lesson about the triumphs of African Americans.{}{}"I felt like I owed Vivian Malone Jones and James Hood a personal thank you," he said.{}Pruitt says people his age don't know a lot about the men and women who fought during the Civil Rights Movement. He says it was their efforts that paved the way for black students to attend any school they want, the right to vote, and the ability to enjoy the freedoms they have today.{} Pruitt says had the older generation passed on the stories of those who fought, the conversation would be different.{}"The younger people don't know their history of their background and where they come from and the African American story is an American story," said Ahmad Ward, Head of Education for the Birmingham Civil Right Institute. {}Ward agrees with Pruitt's assessment of older African Americans failing to share the stories of the Civil Rights Movement to the younger generation. {}Ward adds that although the younger generation of blacks are engaged in a different type of Civil rights movement, there's a lot they can learn from their predecessors.{}"Some of the same methods that were used to fight civil rights issues in the 50's and 60's, can we used to fight LGBT, immigration reform," said Ward.{}Pruitt understands that lesson and he plans to continue his crusade to educate African Americans and others about Civil Rights history using the ink on his arm as a way to begin the conversation.{}