Georgia NeSmith
2 min readMay 22, 2022


....Yes, actually, I did know Sesame Street was created for the "Inner City Black Child" in 1969. My daughter was born 3 years later, and she loved it anyway. Later, so did all 5 of my grandchildren, youngest now 16, oldest 31.


As I recall, tho the Smithsonian article does not mention it, a major aim of the show was to improve the learning skills of black inner city kids so they could enter school at the same learning-prepared level as middle class white kids.

As it turned out (as you know), middle class white kids loved it, its main purpose wasn't quite achieved, tho it certainly improved learning skills all around.

Also not mentioned in the Smithsonian article is that children's television producers assumed that white preschoolers (and their mothers) wouldn't watch it because, you know...

However, the Smithsonian story notes that that when Jackson, Mississippi, public television "concluded that its viewers were not ready for the portrayal of multiracial harmony on city streets and wouldn’t air β€œSesame Street," white parents successfully fought to bring it back and even brought the cast to Jackson for a visit.

That was something new to me, along with your mention of LBJ having taught poor children in Texas. That prompted me to do a wee bit of 'net search for more info when it didn't strike a bell for me. I thought maybe that elided with something from Lady Bird's background. But no, he did in fact do that himself, in a small, very poor Texas town in 1928.

(I've always felt that if LBJ had stayed out of Vietnam, he'd have been as great a president as FDR.)



The show broke ALL of the expectations for children's television. I wish commercial television had done more to follow its example.

Well, enough of my side rant. I enjoyed becoming acquainted with some of your other articles as well, and followed you back. Thanks for calling my attention to your work!



Georgia NeSmith

Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.