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Sesame Street was originally created for black and brown inner city kids

Posted by Walter Gido on

Sesame Street was originally created for black and brown inner city kids

Children usually spend a lot of time watching a lot tv and technically it was sort of a babysitter. It was even worse for inner city children whose parents spent endless hours at work, thus their kids were usually exposed to long hours of mindless programs.Lloyd Morrisett, regarded as the father of Sesame Street and vice-president of the Carnegie Corporation with a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Yale University developed a special interest in children's education.Through a research, they found that inner city children were behind by months to middle class children in kindergarten & the gap grew wider advanced through later grades.

Lloyd Morrisett partnered with Joan Ganz Cooney, an activist and producer at the time. They thought it was possible to teach young children through television. Joan did a feasibility study titled ‘The Potential Uses of Television in Preschool Education’ This study was used to convince the Department of Education, The Carnegie Corporation, The Ford Foundation and private donors to give $8 million to establish the Children's Television Workshop (now the Sesame Workshop) Joan reached out to to a writer & TV producer named Jon Stone, a Yale University graduate experienced in children's television. He shared her passion for social activism and agreed to do the show because of its specific focus on educating black and brown children.


Jon came up with the idea to create a set that mimicked an inner city, New York neighborhood. He even named the show "Sesame Street."Sesame was really black, from the jive talk to the soul and funk music to the set and cast.The integrated and diverse nature of the show didn't get past Southern stations. They even removed Sesame Street from its airwaves for a time because of complaints from parents.A state commission in Mississippi refused to air the show because of the integrated cast. The main characters, Gordon and Susan, were black as well as their adopted son. After their refusal became national news Mississippi reversed their decision.

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