Sanford resident Ingrid Burton Nathan shares her experience as the first black student to integrate Sanford Junior High School, now Sanford Middle School.
In 1962, Ingrid Burton became the first black student to walk through the doors of Sanford Junior High School (now Sanford Middle School). That morning, the whole school stood watching as police officers escorted her inside. Over the next four years, despite plenty of negativity, hatred, and cruelty, Ingrid was never afraid and never let herself be defined by those who fought against history’s tide.
Despite the constant rejection and hatred, Ingrid was an excellent student and did well in her classes. She went on to Seminole High School and then attended Florida Southern College. She eventually became a Spanish teacher.
Now retired, Ingrid gives talks and lectures for anyone who asks to hear her story.
“They want to know what it was like because it just seems so unreal to us today,” Ingrid says. “And I guess when people hear me speak, they’re comparing what used to be with what it is now to make a better tomorrow. I don’t speak to make people angry about the past. I speak to make people understand that there can be a better tomorrow.”
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