OSAGE, Ia. -
In 1968, Jane Elliott conducted the controversial Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes exercise in an Iowa classroom.
"I watched boys who couldn't read, brown eyed boys who couldn't read on the day they were on the top, read words they couldn't read and spell words they couldn't spell," Elliott said.
She recalls one intelligent student who seemed to struggle in the classroom - after experiencing discrimination during the exercise.
"On that day, that brilliant girl made mistakes in reading, she made mistakes in spelling and she forgot how to multiply," Elliott said.
It was a moment that taught Elliott and her class - experiences they could never forget.
"If you can do that with a brilliant little so called white child in one day, think what you can do to children of color, black children, black boys particularly when you do this exercise on them for a lifetime," Elliott said.
Those classroom lessons catapulted Elliott into the national spotlight as an educator on anti-racism. She says she's disheartened by racial tensions that have erupted following the death of George Floyd. Still - she remains hopeful.
"I'd like to see the day when my great grandson who is half Hispanic is treated just as well as anybody else and I would like to see the day when my grandson and his black wife send their children to school knowing they will be treated fairly," Elliott said.
She pledges to spend the rest of her life - fighting to see that day.
"That's the worst ignorance in this country is the ignorance about race," Elliott said. "We need to educate our way out of it and we could if we chose to."
For more information about Elliott's mission, visit here.