Certainly the bus incident and my mixed feelings about taking up for my girl friend, who was being ostracized for her father's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, both had a lasting impact on my growing understanding of the need to speak out against the injustice of segregation.
Another character building influence that I remember was when I read the book, Black Like Me, by James Baldwin, sometime during my high school years. I think I read it several times, because I was absolutely fascinated by it. On one level I recognized so much of what he talked about, having always lived in a segregated Southern city. On another level, I felt like I was reading about another country, seeing into a world I never knew existed, even though it was only a breath away from me.
I never looked at a Whites Only sign the same way again. I came to realize that those who have privilege must make a conscious effort to see the many needs of those who do not have privilege, while viewing them as equals.
nostalgia, childhood memories, segregation, Whites Only, Black Like Me, James Baldwin, integration