By Robin Culverwell
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some of the original Freedom Fighters whose protest led to the desegregation of Girard College in the 1960s were back outside the school this morning, celebrating 50 years since their historic demonstration.
A handful of those Freedom Fighters returned to the school today, to visit with each other and to look back at what they dared do as teenagers: camp outside the school for 7½ months to call attention to the boarding school’s “white boys only” policy.
Owen Gowans was among the first four African-American students to graduate from Girard College; he began there in second grade, at age eight.
Does he feel like a part of history?
“Nah, I just walked in and… normal registration,” he recalled today. “Came in and went to school, and graduated like anyone else would.”
Still, he says, he understands that he was part of a watershed moment: “I’ve accepted the responsibility. That’s why I came out today to show my appreciation.”
The surviving Freedom Fighters reënacted their walk around the exterior wall of the campus. They noted that one only has to look at recent protests around the country to realized the struggle for equality is not over.