I am writing this because I had a friend tell me that he didn’t understand why anyone would associate the Confederate Flag with racism.
“After all, The Civil War”, said, “had nothing to do with slavery”
I didn’t and don’t want to argue that paricular point, because even now what we” are tolf the reasons for a war are, and what they rerally are don’t always seem to match up.
All I could/can do, is explain why this Black person has a gut reaction when I see that particular Flag.
First you need to understand that I am over a half-cenurty old. Things that “you” think are history now, are vivid parts of my memory and life.
Second you need to understand that my Fathers side of the family is from the south, and that those uncle and aunts and cousins who lived in Chicago were not even a whole genration in the North. If long distance calls were expensive. letters were cheap and so that there was a constant flow of information between the Family. In addttion, there was a “tradition” among many Black families of sending children South for alll or part the summer,
I can remember going with my father’s Mother “Down South” for the summer of 1960.
We had to pack food, because there ware few places along the road that Black people could dtop and get a meal. We also had to pack Toilet paper because there were also few places that allowed Black people to use the “public” restrooms.
I was told that I must adress every White person, even if they were my own age (i was seven) with the honorific “mr.” or “miss”, or there could be dire, even deadly consqauences.
And as we travlled down the carious highways and roads where we dared not stop, it seemed that everywhere I looked I saw that “red, white and blue Flag” that was so different from the “American Flag”.
Once we got down to the farms where my relatives lived, I discovered that “we” were not allowed in the naearb town. Anything that the families could not raise themselves was either bought via “catloug” (or mailed from up North by the releatives in Chicago, Nerw Yorl, Milwaukee, erc), or cought from a huge “store-on wheels” that visited the farms in the area on a regular basis.
It never occured to me till I sat down to write this, that I never thoght to ask where the kids went to school. All my relatives could read I know, so they must have learned somewhere.
I didn’t get back down South again until 1972., on a kind of “speaking toue” of Black colleges and University. Which was particulalry interesting since even tho segregation was supposed to be illegal, the State colleges and Universities were still pretty much racially “seperate and unequal”.
People often say with pride, “I’m not interested in politics.” They might as well say, “I’m not interested in my standard of living, my health, my job, my rights, my freedoms, my future, or any future.”
— Martha Gellhorn, writer/journalist (1908-1998)
Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.
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