Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Integration Memories

The rest of my high school days went pretty much as one would expect. The schools did not integrate until after I had graduated. The SCLC moved on to other Southern cities, and Birmingham settled down a bit.

Many things did change, though. The White Only and Colored Only water fountains in the department stores were replaced by unmarked fountains with cup dispensers, so White people didn't have to be concerned about putting their mouths where Colored people had used the fountain. Well, that's the way White people felt around here back then - as if we were going to catch some horrible disease. That's the way I was raised, too, except for Sadie.

The bathrooms in the department stores no longer were separated, either. So, they put in pay toilets for some of the stalls, thinking that only the White customers would pay the dime to use the pay ones. Well, of course, the Colored ladies paid their dimes, too! The lunch counters and restaurants opened up to serve both Black and White customers, although uneasily at first.

And people began to gradually discover that nothing horrible happened if the person at the next table, or in the next bathroom stall, was of a different race.

The one place that integration really didn't work very well was on the buses. Once the Colored signs were taken down, and the Colored people began to sit up front, most of the White people just stopped riding the buses. The bus company in Birmingham is still struggling financially, as the White riders never did come back in large numbers.

, , ,


Chana said...

this is social studies plus..the part that often never gets told-thanks.

i can't believe how it all happened. the evolution to how we got here is mind boggling..cups for water and paid toilets- i have never heard of such things!

i'm glad that North America doesn't do that to blacks anymore.now we are doing and allowing or watching horribleness to other groups..it's not all about color but gender and religion and money..look at all the genecides all over the world!

Dirty Butter said...

You're right, Chana. These kinds of details just don't make it into the history books, and would be lost if people didn't write them down.

We may not treat Black people this way any more, but, sadly, we are increasingly treating Hispanics and Muslims this way. May we learn from the past and not repeat the mistakes of the past.

We don't have to like the politics, religion, or language people use, but we can treat them as fellow human beings, deserving of our respect and equal treatment.

Mark Jakerson said...


Dirty Butter said...

Thanks for stopping by Mark, and I'm glad you found my post interesting. I enjoyed reading your blog, too.

Jackie said...

Brings back many memories of my childhood in Africa.

Read "Black like me" when it was first published. Found it so true. "To Sir with Love" was an excellent book of that time as well, but set in London.

In answer to your question. Many sites state "After years of searching ancient documents, "Pulse" has now been rediscovered. "Pulse" was made from wind-dried veggies, fruits, nuts, and grains in specific ratios, and carried in grape seed oil and walnut oil. An ancient "trail mix", but with precise combinations of ingredients." Seems to be similar to "Phi Plus" which you can buy from biblefoods.com

Dirty Butter said...

I didn't read "To Sir with Love," but I saw the movie, and I was deeply impressed by it, too.

Thanks for the information on pulse.