Black children are three times more likely to drown in the United States than white children. This hour, we learn the history behind this deadly disparity.
And we’ll talk with New Haven nonprofit LEAP about how they are taking on this problem one swimmer at a time.
Plus, how can schools address the “summer slide”?
- Jeff Wiltse - Professor of History at University of Montana and author of Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America
- Henry Fernandez - Executive Director of LEAP in New Haven
- Elvert Eden - Youth Development and Aquatics Director at LEAP
- Nazair Peters - Lifeguard and swim instructor with LEAP, and a sophomore at UConn
- Will Clark - Chief Operating Officer of New Haven Public Schools
The Guardian: Swimming while black: the legacy of segregated public pools lives on - “In the US, swimming ability is starkly divided along racial lines…The consequences of this can be deadly: according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black children aged five to 14 are three times more likely to die from unintentional drowning than their white counterparts. In the US, approximately 10 people die from unintentional drowning every day.”
NPR: Public Swimming Pools’ Divisive Past – “When federal courts desegregated municipal pools in the late 1940s and early 1950s, white swimmers generally abandoned municipal pools. They did not build as many new pools as they had previously, they neglected maintenance on existing pools, and eventually chose to close down dilapidated pools rather than pay for costly repairs.”
New Haven Independent: New Lifeguards Minted - “Eden said LEAP reopened its pool in 2014 with a goal of teaching every child who comes through the doors how to swim. Of those 1,200 children who come each year, 92 percent are either black or Hispanic, and 65 percent of them don’t know how to swim. LEAP wanted to make sure that the kids had a basic skill that would help them avoid a preventable death from drowning.”
Chion Wolf contributed to this show.