Then and Now

Then and Now May 29, 2012

I grew up during a time and place where the only blacks in the schools were those working in the cafeteria.

Or in the bathrooms.



Those were the jobs available to blacks in those days.

I grew up in a time or place when parents in the burbs were afraid to send tow-headed girls to school with nappy-headed boys.

So when busing began, a crop of new schools entered the district.

Private schools.

Church schools.

Schools only white families could afford.

Blacks were not allowed.

In our classrooms.

On our playgrounds.

At our birthday parties.

Or in our churches.

A black woman taught me to

make a bed

make a biscuit

make nice

and mind my manners.

I don’t know if Thelma loved me

but I did her.

Yesterday I watched with thousands of others as a man took center stage

among some of the most powerful white men in the nation.

And it did not register with me once, not once during the entire day, that he was a black man.

I only thought of him as Mr. President.

Seemed fitting that he was speaking before a memorial  commonly referred to as The Wall That Heals.

photo by Shelby Zacharias



Browse Our Archives