Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood Video From 1969 Sends America a Message [Video]
Fred Rogers from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood was not only inspirational as an educator for children sitting in front of a television set, but he also inspired the parents of those children watching. In 1969, Fred Rogers did something on national television that was so moving and so bold that it made a statement then and is still teaching society today.
It was the year after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, blacks and whites were more divided than ever. Civil riots in small towns and big cities were still taking place. And black Americans still weren't allowed to swim with whites in swimming pools or drink from the same water fountains.
Fred Rogers, a Presbyterian minister, took to the air one day in 1969 and what he did on that particular episode of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, changed the mood of the world. Rogers invited Officer Clemmons, a black police officer on the show played by Francois Clemmons, to join him to dangling his feet in the cool water of a kiddie pool on the set. Fred had his feet in the pool as well. At first Officer, Clemmons declined saying he couldn't because he didn't have a towel. Eventually, Rogers convinced Clemmons to join him and the two talked while their black and white feet soaked in the same water. When it was time to take their feet out, Fred Rogers had Clemmons use HIS towel and in possibly the boldest move ever on national television, Rogers helped Fred Clemmons dry his feet.
It's sad that here we all are in 2020 and equality in the United States is still an issue. We can learn a lot from this blurry 1969 video from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. Let's hope this aged video can teach the new world an old lesson.