Tuesday, February 18, 2020

My history with Black History

Autos of History
This is one of the last cars built during WWII, the 1942 Chevy. Car makers were already tooled for military vehicles.

For today:
I am a fairly new follower of Susan Kane thecontemplativecat,  But I have been impressed by her writing. She does some great short stories. Lately she did a post on Black History Month.  Yeah, I know there is no Italian History Month nor Polish, German, Irish, Oriental or even a White History Month. I knew some history she used but not that of Free Frank McWorter who founded the town of New Philadelphia, IL, in Pike County.

My mind went back to the country church my dad pastored in the High Shoals community of NC. I was 3-6 yrs old when we lived there. The closest neighbors were Black. At the time I was told by my mama they were ‘Colored’ people, Not Nigra, Negro or the nasty ‘N’ word.  If I ever used the “N” word  it got me a spanking or a ‘whop’ on the rear. She was taught in North Georgia, in her daddy’s store, Colored was respectful.

I  ‘cringed’ but appreciated the consideration of the black nurses who attended mama. Because she (Born 1905) ALWAYS had to say, “Honey, do whatever you must do, at my house there was no difference in Coloreds and Whites.” Those ladies had no idea how true that was, but they treated my mama professionally, with smiles.

My mama was a preacher’s wife. I heard her say many times, of the south, we will send money to darkest Africa to help dark natives and ignore poor Colored Folk here in need, just like poor Whites.

I’m talking about me, my family and Black History. I knew Mrs. Davis as Mammy, the title used by her family. At 5-6 years old I had no idea the dangers associated with being Black in the South. Segregation was a part of life, accepted, it was NORMAL. I had no idea Blacks could not use the toilet in Service Stations, nor ANYWHERE unless it stated ‘Colored Rest Room.’  Neither could they walk into a Hot Dog joint or bar. Sometimes there was an outside window where they could place an order. Most of us cannot even imagine how much courage it took for some Black people to walk into a cafĂ© and sit down to order and be taken to jail.

Mammy never let me sit at their table, her words, “Boy, it ain’t fittin’ for Whites and Coloreds to eat together,”  confused me. I ate sitting on the wood pile behind the wood stove. Conversely making it more confusing, when the kids ate with us they sat at our table.

I may take this a step further tomorrow, but this entry is  dear to my heart because I want all that put behind, and as a white guy I want everyone to have my mama’s attitude. BUT down inside I think if I were Black and remembered segregation (not even slavery) I would probably be pretty militant, but I don’t know that. (And I deeply abhor nasty militancy). I really hope if I were Black, I would have the heart of MLK Jr. or even Rodney King who said, . I just want to say – you know –"Can't we all just get along?" ...  (Rodney King was no saint, but that quote is REAL)

This is too long; maybe tomorrow I will tell you about some friends I have enjoyed.

Nite Shipslog                        


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Thankfully things have changed a lot since your younger days. But it wasn't easy and MLK lost his life for it. We should have changed when the slaves were freed in Lincoln's time, but too much prejudice and racism reamained. Hopefully we have all learned to get along. Here in the north there was as much segregation as there was in the south and I was amazed the first trip I made to the south. Every town you drove through had a withe section and a colored section and it wasn't hard to tell the difference.

Mevely317 said...

Great post! During my brief part-time job, the funeral director and I became friends; and oh my word. Here I thought I knew a lot about segregation; but Saleski's stories of black history -- much of it first-hand -- left me feeling abashed. For instance: He once refused to patronize a colleague's birthday party because it was took place at a restaurant that still makes it a practice to close its doors on Wednesday afternoons. (Me: Huh?) (Saleski: Girl, we've got to teach you some black history.) Come to find out, Montgomery merchants used to close shop on Wednesdays because that's when the slave auctions took place.

Funny story: My cousin used to poke fun of her mother when she'd say, "Colored folks" K. would respond, "What color, mom?"

Woody said...

Good interesting Post, Growing up in Northern New York there were no African Americans, might be the 40 BELOW ZERO winters ! Closest African Americans I can remember were from Syracuse and Albany Area and I saw my first "Black Man" at the County Fair, I was about 12, I didn't quit staring at him, He said, "Come here Boy", I was scared and walked over to him and he held out his arm and said, "Touch Me", I did and he said "See, it don't rub off" ! Hard to believe the way it was back years ago !!! Hope you 2 are doing well, Take Care, stay well and behave ! Love from Gary and Anna Mae

betty said...

I can't imagine how it would be either if I was being segregated because of the color of my skin. I too think Rodney King's quote is a good one! We need to find a way to get along no matter what we look like, believe in, etc. The world needs more peace in it indeed!


Glenda said...

This is a wonderful post! Your Mama was one smart lady and we grew up with very little if any discrimination in our farmhouse. There was one black Girl in our high school and she was revered. Of recent, in my last job, I worked with a majority of young, black girls and I encountered a great deal of reverse discrimination. It's appalling that there is so much hatred among the younger set. Scary, even for one who's never been exposed and it's a tragedy that so many have been suffered a childhood that was, in many cases, with no father in the picture, and a desire to raid the system. I overheard way more than I felt comfortable learning how many ridiculed the "Po Po" and laughed about the food stamps and Medicaid they collected. Not behavior that MLK would have sanctified, in my opinion. We have a lot of trouble on the horizon. Thanks, Jack for a thoughtful commentary.

Dar said...

Jack, once again you spurred the thought process in us. I could never think of living through segregation but look now at how we are as the 'white'minority. We're living it. Like you point out...there is no 'month' for the rest of us...we do have a long, long way to go. I agree with your mama's and Rodney King.....why can't we all just get along? Great entry my friend.
loven'hugs from up north where it's freezin' out but the sun shines through it all. Stay healthy......how ya feelin?