To what extent are you woke?


David Markham
 


In 1889, Virginia made Lee’s birthday a state holiday. In 1904, it added Stonewall Jackson to the celebration after someone realized his birthday was only two days after Lee’s. In 1984, the Virginia General Assembly created Lee-Jackson-King Day when it added Martin Luther King Jr.’s name to the holiday. Resistance to irony remains a strong part of white southern identity. In 2000, the law changed to separate Lee-Jackson Day from the MLK holiday. Finally, in March 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill into law ending the observance of Lee-Jackson Day and creating an Election Day holiday in its stead. All told, eleven states still have twenty-two Confederate holidays mandated by law.4


Seidule, Ty. Robert E. Lee and Me (p. 251). St. Martin's Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 


I am writing this on 07/27/21 at age 75 and as I review the above passage in Seidule’s book, I  am reminded that it was a only a couple of years ago that I became aware that in the South there are State holidays on various confederate leaders’ birthdays and the days of other confederate historical events which I thought was strange at the time. The states that celebrate these days, sometimes with paid time off and the closure of state governmental buildings and services are Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Virginia, Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Texas. In our contemporary political landscape, all these states are Red states and home to white Supremacist groups, beliefs, values, and practices.


I was raised and have lived my whole life in Western New York State so when I became aware of these celebrations and commemorations of confederate leaders and events, it seemed odd to me, but I didn’t make much of it. It seemed to me to be a regional thing and kind of quaint.


It is hard to do anti-racist work when the collective culture supports and valorizes a racist past. Racist beliefs and practices are institutionalized in governmental, educational, and business organizations. While beliefs and practices are slowly changing, racist policies, beliefs, and practices are not simply individual choices but embedded in the fabric of the societies that children are raised in and adults function within. Racist beliefs, values, and practices are not insignificant and inconsequential but have a huge impact on the quality of life in our society for all Americans and even around the world.


Seidule, himself, was raised and socialized in a racist culture even though he was educated at West Point, was a history professor there, and rose to a rank of Brigadier General. His story is so significant because he states repeatedly that he was unaware of the structures and dynamics that contributed to his racist beliefs to the extent that he thought they were normal and acceptable. He even idealized them and glorified them albeit unknowingly.  He describes his questioning and awakening from his conditioning and came to a place where he could hardly recognize his new self compared to the old person he had been. Seidule became what we nowadays are calling “woke.”


  1. To what extent have you traveled a similar journey as Ty Seidule and become more woke as you have matured?

  2. While there are many things, what seems to be one of the most significant things that contributed to Seidule’s awakening to the racist history and structures in our society?

  3. What have been some of the most significant things that have contributed to your awakening if you have awoken?

  4. If you, and we, could hasten the awakening of our fellow human beings in our contemporary society, name one or two things that you think might help?

image.gif


Becky Lindroos
 

I was raised in a very liberal family when it came to race issues. My parents are/were very conservative economically and they wanted no part of anything socialist.

The truth is that during the 1930s on the Communist party was involved in the racial battle in the US. They supported the sharecroppers in Alabama and black defendants in trials and they started Civil Rights activism. So the Civil Rights movement was associated with Communism and J. Edgar Hoover knew that and prosecuted (persecuted) the Blacks. J Edgar was almost rabid about Commies and whatever they were in any way connected with - anti-war people, civil rights people, union people, all of it.

Times change! But during the 20th century Republicans got a stranglehold on some issues and have never let go. These Republican issues are basically anti-Communist and that means anti-atheist, anti-union, anti-Civil Rights, anti-socialist, anti-big government, etc. It was like a knee-jerk rubber stamp back in the days and being pro-America became being these things.

I’ve talked about my mom a lot here but she is and ever shall be a Republican of the 1950s but there’s nothing (not one thing) which is racist about her. She is anti-Socialist in any way shape and form. She really dislikes the immigration policy of the US keeping the immigrants from the south of the border out. One day she just out of the blue watching TV said, “That’s racist” with as much venom as one can muster.

But she was for Trump because she saw him as being anti-socialist. She just not going to label herself something and adopt all their policies.

Looking at ourselves - I can see where I get knee jerk about some things and instead of thinking through some issues for myself I tend to ask myself “What’s the progressive thinking on this issue?” “What are my friends (names), saying?”

In a society and culture as polarized as ours has become it’s hard to keep an even head about all this stuff.

And I want to read that book “How To Be an anti-Racist.” It’s hard to act like you’re “woke” when you rarely see anyone darker than Anderson Cooper.

I have started using the term “skin-tone” rather than Black or White or Brown. That kind of puts the issue more front and center. It takes the broader and wrong idea of “race” out of it and puts the emphasis on skin color. We are "skintone-ist" because there is no such thing as “race” or very little evidence of what people usually mean as “race” being deeper than that.

In my classes we used to talk about there not being any “white” people or “black” people. Those are what we call dark and light but it’s not correct. We’re all brown, some people are dark and some people are light etc. I had “skin-tone” crayons for the kids to use on the people in their drawings. On one self-portrait they had to get themselves as accurately as possible. (And the art projects were self-portraits like Van Gogh and Frieda Kahlo, da Vinci, Rembandt -
https://mymodernmet.com/famous-self-portraits/
(Note the skin tones) I also used “The Banjo Lesson" by Henry Tanner “Blind Beggars” by Lawrence,

On Jul 27, 2021, at 4:53 PM, David Markham <davidgmarkham@gmail.com> wrote:


In 1889, Virginia made Lee’s birthday a state holiday. In 1904, it added Stonewall Jackson to the celebration after someone realized his birthday was only two days after Lee’s. In 1984, the Virginia General Assembly created Lee-Jackson-King Day when it added Martin Luther King Jr.’s name to the holiday. Resistance to irony remains a strong part of white southern identity. In 2000, the law changed to separate Lee-Jackson Day from the MLK holiday. Finally, in March 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill into law ending the observance of Lee-Jackson Day and creating an Election Day holiday in its stead. All told, eleven states still have twenty-two Confederate holidays mandated by law.4

Seidule, Ty. Robert E. Lee and Me (p. 251). St. Martin's Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I am writing this on 07/27/21 at age 75 and as I review the above passage in Seidule’s book, I am reminded that it was a only a couple of years ago that I became aware that in the South there are State holidays on various confederate leaders’ birthdays and the days of other confederate historical events which I thought was strange at the time. The states that celebrate these days, sometimes with paid time off and the closure of state governmental buildings and services are Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Virginia, Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Texas. In our contemporary political landscape, all these states are Red states and home to white Supremacist groups, beliefs, values, and practices.

I was raised and have lived my whole life in Western New York State so when I became aware of these celebrations and commemorations of confederate leaders and events, it seemed odd to me, but I didn’t make much of it. It seemed to me to be a regional thing and kind of quaint.

It is hard to do anti-racist work when the collective culture supports and valorizes a racist past. Racist beliefs and practices are institutionalized in governmental, educational, and business organizations. While beliefs and practices are slowly changing, racist policies, beliefs, and practices are not simply individual choices but embedded in the fabric of the societies that children are raised in and adults function within. Racist beliefs, values, and practices are not insignificant and inconsequential but have a huge impact on the quality of life in our society for all Americans and even around the world.

Seidule, himself, was raised and socialized in a racist culture even though he was educated at West Point, was a history professor there, and rose to a rank of Brigadier General. His story is so significant because he states repeatedly that he was unaware of the structures and dynamics that contributed to his racist beliefs to the extent that he thought they were normal and acceptable. He even idealized them and glorified them albeit unknowingly. He describes his questioning and awakening from his conditioning and came to a place where he could hardly recognize his new self compared to the old person he had been. Seidule became what we nowadays are calling “woke.”

• To what extent have you traveled a similar journey as Ty Seidule and become more woke as you have matured?
• While there are many things, what seems to be one of the most significant things that contributed to Seidule’s awakening to the racist history and structures in our society?
• What have been some of the most significant things that have contributed to your awakening if you have awoken?
• If you, and we, could hasten the awakening of our fellow human beings in our contemporary society, name one or two things that you think might help?
<image.gif>


Jim Harris
 

I mainly grew up in Florida, in and around Miami, but my mother's family was from Mississippi. In 1959 we moved to Marks, Mississippi and I lived there part of 3rd and 4th grade. I remember going into the Piggly-Wiggly store with my mom one time and suddenly this giant man rushed out of the back and started screaming at me. It totally terrified me. I had drunk from the water fountain for black people and he wanted to educate me. That made me scared of racists. I didn't even understand the differences between people of different colors, but I could tell the racists because of their violent tempers and anger. Ever since I haven't like people with strong emotions, and generally hateful people have strong emotions.

I lived in Mississippi twice while growing up, the second time in Charleston, for the first part of 10th grade, in 1966-67, the first year they integrated the high school. I was always horrified by the vicious racism I heard there. There was also constant quiet racism too, but it was the hot-tempered racism that scared and disgusted me. It wasn't that I was sympathetic towards black people at that age, although I was, I was conditioned to be against racism because the violent emotions of the racists horrified me. I believe those experiences were the beginning of my liberal education. Even now all the emotional outbursts caused by our politically polarized society upset me. It probably also conditioned me to be an introvert and stay away from people too.

Jim Harris


David Markham
 

Hi Becky:

What a wonderful story about your mother and family growing up. People forget about the McCarthy era at the beginning of the cold war when people were told there were "communists" under your bed and behind every tree in your yard. I came of age in the Viet Nam war era when there were slogans like "Better dead than red." Michael Savage, the hate talk show host, made famous his phrase "red diaper doper babies."

One of the things I have become increasingly reflective about is that lack of good management strategies Americans have for their fear. I wonder if we are one of the most fearful societies on earth. All politicians have to do to get elected is to tap into the social fear and tension and claim they can provide protection and security and people fall for it every time. Another indication of the high levels of fear is the self medicating that goes on with chemicals of all types and guns.

I really like your reframe of "skin tone" for "race." I love your story about the huge box of crayons which allowed your students to draw self portraits that matched their skin tones. My eyes well up with tears from reading your story and work.

Thank you!

David Markham


On Tue, Jul 27, 2021 at 10:48 PM Becky Lindroos <bekah0176@...> wrote:
I was raised in a very liberal family when it came to race issues. My parents are/were very conservative economically and they wanted no part of anything socialist.

The truth is that during the 1930s on the Communist party was involved in the racial battle in the US.  They supported the sharecroppers in Alabama and black defendants in trials and they started Civil Rights activism.  So the Civil Rights movement was associated with Communism and J. Edgar Hoover knew that and prosecuted (persecuted) the Blacks.  J Edgar was almost rabid about Commies and whatever they were in any way connected with -  anti-war people,  civil rights people, union people, all of it.

Times change!  But during the 20th century Republicans got a stranglehold on some issues and have never let go.  These Republican issues are basically anti-Communist and that means anti-atheist, anti-union, anti-Civil Rights, anti-socialist, anti-big government, etc.  It was like a knee-jerk rubber stamp back in the days and being pro-America became being these things.

I’ve talked about my mom a lot here but she is and ever shall be a Republican of the 1950s but there’s nothing (not one thing) which is racist about her.  She is anti-Socialist in any way shape and form.  She really dislikes the immigration policy of the US keeping the immigrants from the south of the border out.  One day she just out of the blue watching TV said,  “That’s racist” with as much venom as one can muster.

But she was for Trump because she saw him as being anti-socialist.   She just not going to label herself something and adopt all their policies.   

Looking at ourselves - I can see where I get knee jerk about some things and instead of thinking through some issues for myself I tend to ask myself “What’s the progressive thinking on this issue?” “What are my friends (names), saying?”

In a society and culture as polarized as ours has become it’s hard to keep an even head about all this stuff.

And I want to read that book “How To Be an anti-Racist.”  It’s hard to act like you’re “woke” when you rarely see anyone darker than Anderson Cooper.

I have started using the term “skin-tone” rather than Black or White or Brown. That kind of puts the issue more front and center.  It takes the broader and wrong idea of “race” out of it and puts the emphasis on skin color.  We are "skintone-ist" because there is no such thing as “race” or very little evidence of what people usually mean as “race” being deeper than that.   

In my classes we used to talk about there not being any “white” people or “black” people.  Those are what we call dark and light but it’s not correct.  We’re all brown,  some people are dark and some people are light etc.  I had “skin-tone” crayons for the kids to use on the people in their drawings. On one self-portrait they had to get themselves as accurately as possible.  (And the art projects were self-portraits like Van Gogh and Frieda Kahlo, da Vinci, Rembandt -   
 https://mymodernmet.com/famous-self-portraits/
(Note the skin tones) I also used “The Banjo Lesson" by Henry Tanner “Blind Beggars” by Lawrence,



> On Jul 27, 2021, at 4:53 PM, David Markham <davidgmarkham@...> wrote:
>
>
> In 1889, Virginia made Lee’s birthday a state holiday. In 1904, it added Stonewall Jackson to the celebration after someone realized his birthday was only two days after Lee’s. In 1984, the Virginia General Assembly created Lee-Jackson-King Day when it added Martin Luther King Jr.’s name to the holiday. Resistance to irony remains a strong part of white southern identity. In 2000, the law changed to separate Lee-Jackson Day from the MLK holiday. Finally, in March 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill into law ending the observance of Lee-Jackson Day and creating an Election Day holiday in its stead. All told, eleven states still have twenty-two Confederate holidays mandated by law.4
>
> Seidule, Ty. Robert E. Lee and Me (p. 251). St. Martin's Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
>
> I am writing this on 07/27/21 at age 75 and as I review the above passage in Seidule’s book, I  am reminded that it was a only a couple of years ago that I became aware that in the South there are State holidays on various confederate leaders’ birthdays and the days of other confederate historical events which I thought was strange at the time. The states that celebrate these days, sometimes with paid time off and the closure of state governmental buildings and services are Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Virginia, Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Texas. In our contemporary political landscape, all these states are Red states and home to white Supremacist groups, beliefs, values, and practices.
>
> I was raised and have lived my whole life in Western New York State so when I became aware of these celebrations and commemorations of confederate leaders and events, it seemed odd to me, but I didn’t make much of it. It seemed to me to be a regional thing and kind of quaint.
>
> It is hard to do anti-racist work when the collective culture supports and valorizes a racist past. Racist beliefs and practices are institutionalized in governmental, educational, and business organizations. While beliefs and practices are slowly changing, racist policies, beliefs, and practices are not simply individual choices but embedded in the fabric of the societies that children are raised in and adults function within. Racist beliefs, values, and practices are not insignificant and inconsequential but have a huge impact on the quality of life in our society for all Americans and even around the world.
>
> Seidule, himself, was raised and socialized in a racist culture even though he was educated at West Point, was a history professor there, and rose to a rank of Brigadier General. His story is so significant because he states repeatedly that he was unaware of the structures and dynamics that contributed to his racist beliefs to the extent that he thought they were normal and acceptable. He even idealized them and glorified them albeit unknowingly.  He describes his questioning and awakening from his conditioning and came to a place where he could hardly recognize his new self compared to the old person he had been. Seidule became what we nowadays are calling “woke.”
>
>       • To what extent have you traveled a similar journey as Ty Seidule and become more woke as you have matured?
>       • While there are many things, what seems to be one of the most significant things that contributed to Seidule’s awakening to the racist history and structures in our society?
>       • What have been some of the most significant things that have contributed to your awakening if you have awoken?
>       • If you, and we, could hasten the awakening of our fellow human beings in our contemporary society, name one or two things that you think might help?
> <image.gif>
>







David Markham
 

Hi Jim:

Thanks for your story about your experiences growing up. Fear is a powerful emotion which significantly shapes our attitudes and behavior. The experience you had being accosted by the man when you drank out of the colored water fountain as a young shite boy of 8 or 9 has had a significant impact on your life if I am reading you correctly. it is interesting how not only are blacks conditioned to fear white racists, but whites are conditioned to fear them as well.

Martin Luther King pointed out that the biggest challenge in changing racism in America is not the white racists because they make themselves known. It is the quiet whites who are afraid to say anything. They are bystanders. It is the bystanders that King felt challenged by. The non racist whites who are afraid and leave it to the blacks to fight their own battles saying things like "It's not my fight. I'm staying out of it. Don't blame me I'm not racist."

The point being that there is an abnegation of responsibility for the collective well being by individualizing the fear as being a personal phenomenon. This has given rise to this whole "woke" idea which is an idea of one's participation and interaction with the collective.

You provide a wonderful description of how whites are just as intimidated by racism sometimes as blacks but of course not as easily targeted by racists except on January 6 when they staged an insurrection, and in Charlottesville when they staged their deadly rally.

David, trying to wake up, Markham


On Wed, Jul 28, 2021 at 9:18 AM Jim Harris <jameswallaceharris@...> wrote:
I mainly grew up in Florida, in and around Miami, but my mother's family was from Mississippi. In 1959 we moved to Marks, Mississippi and I lived there part of 3rd and 4th grade. I remember going into the Piggly-Wiggly store with my mom one time and suddenly this giant man rushed out of the back and started screaming at me. It totally terrified me. I had drunk from the water fountain for black people and he wanted to educate me. That made me scared of racists. I didn't even understand the differences between people of different colors, but I could tell the racists because of their violent tempers and anger. Ever since I haven't like people with strong emotions, and generally hateful people have strong emotions.

I lived in Mississippi twice while growing up, the second time in Charleston, for the first part of 10th grade, in 1966-67, the first year they integrated the high school. I was always horrified by the vicious racism I heard there. There was also constant quiet racism too, but it was the hot-tempered racism that scared and disgusted me. It wasn't that I was sympathetic towards black people at that age, although I was, I was conditioned to be against racism because the violent emotions of the racists horrified me. I believe those experiences were the beginning of my liberal education. Even now all the emotional outbursts caused by our politically polarized society upset me. It probably also conditioned me to be an introvert and stay away from people too.

Jim Harris


Becky Lindroos
 

I only saw blacks on TV until I was 16 or so and moved to California. There might have been one or two in Fargo but I don’t remember any in high school when I went there for two years. Maybe I saw a couple on the streets of St. Paul or Minneapolis but we actually lived in a suburb and I don’t remember any there.

So when I moved to the San Joaquin Valley in California it was a shock, There were very, very few blacks but there were Mexicans all over! They’d all (except 1) gotten kicked out of school on Labor Day weekend because there’d been a riot at the armory where there was a dance. The one Mexican student who had not got kicked out was also the class president. LOL!

There were other serious prejudices. Okies were still hated in 1964. Many lived out at the farm labor camps like in The Grapes of Wrath. There were signs on stores which said “No Okies!” And the Okies hated the Mexicans in order to maintain their class/caste place in the pecking order of things. And the Mexicans hated the Blacks to maintain theirs.

We were raised with the idea to be thankful we weren’t born “Negro” because, and specifically stated, "it wasn’t their fault.” Now imo today, that implies there was something wrong with them but we were to ignore that and treat them kindly (if we ever ran into any in real life - I saw blacks on the TV news).

In my town if you saw a Black on the street of course you would gawk (and maybe try not to but …) You would gawk if you saw a green person, too, It was that unusual. Today there are .02% (about 150 ? in a town of 60,000) but there are

There was one guy in my sophomore year of college who was black and gorgeous and very, very polite - nice to me. We chatted after theater rehearsals. He would have asked me out (and I would have happily gone) but I was already engaged to my hubby (whom I met in high school).

I think there were maybe 9 families in Porterville who were Black. They were related. They did well in school and one grew up to own a good business- car repair - and married an acquaintance. I Think there might still be 9 Black families in town. Mostly the Blacks live in Tulare.

Historically there was a town called Allensworth which was started by a Black Union soldier, Lieutenant Colonel from Kentucky (Colonel Allensworth) who escaped and joined the Union forces. The town was created in 1908 by him and some friends specifically for Blacks who were now free and had come to California.

But after a couple decades the water dried up and the Great Depression sent people looking for work in the cities. In the 1970s the town was made into a State Historic Site/Park
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allen_Allensworth
https://www.historynet.com/allensworth-californias-black-community.htm
Photos: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=24662
More photos:
https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ALeKk01vE5lttczDIk_FxPpIYXPHBXPhWQ:1627484638556&source=univ&tbm=isch&q=Allensworth&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiSk4jehIbyAhVZaM0KHZyVBwUQjJkEegQIBxAC&biw=1080&bih=521


Becky

On Jul 28, 2021, at 8:18 AM, Jim Harris <jameswallaceharris@outlook.com> wrote:

I mainly grew up in Florida, in and around Miami, but my mother's family was from Mississippi. In 1959 we moved to Marks, Mississippi and I lived there part of 3rd and 4th grade. I remember going into the Piggly-Wiggly store with my mom one time and suddenly this giant man rushed out of the back and started screaming at me. It totally terrified me. I had drunk from the water fountain for black people and he wanted to educate me. That made me scared of racists. I didn't even understand the differences between people of different colors, but I could tell the racists because of their violent tempers and anger. Ever since I haven't like people with strong emotions, and generally hateful people have strong emotions.

I lived in Mississippi twice while growing up, the second time in Charleston, for the first part of 10th grade, in 1966-67, the first year they integrated the high school. I was always horrified by the vicious racism I heard there. There was also constant quiet racism too, but it was the hot-tempered racism that scared and disgusted me. It wasn't that I was sympathetic towards black people at that age, although I was, I was conditioned to be against racism because the violent emotions of the racists horrified me. I believe those experiences were the beginning of my liberal education. Even now all the emotional outbursts caused by our politically polarized society upset me. It probably also conditioned me to be an introvert and stay away from people too.

Jim Harris


Becky Lindroos
 

Fwiw, Allensworth is about 35 miles southwest of Porterville.

Becky

On Jul 28, 2021, at 10:29 AM, Becky Lindroos <bekah0176@sbcglobal.net> wrote:

I only saw blacks on TV until I was 16 or so and moved to California. There might have been one or two in Fargo but I don’t remember any in high school when I went there for two years. Maybe I saw a couple on the streets of St. Paul or Minneapolis but we actually lived in a suburb and I don’t remember any there.

So when I moved to the San Joaquin Valley in California it was a shock, There were very, very few blacks but there were Mexicans all over! They’d all (except 1) gotten kicked out of school on Labor Day weekend because there’d been a riot at the armory where there was a dance. The one Mexican student who had not got kicked out was also the class president. LOL!

There were other serious prejudices. Okies were still hated in 1964. Many lived out at the farm labor camps like in The Grapes of Wrath. There were signs on stores which said “No Okies!” And the Okies hated the Mexicans in order to maintain their class/caste place in the pecking order of things. And the Mexicans hated the Blacks to maintain theirs.

We were raised with the idea to be thankful we weren’t born “Negro” because, and specifically stated, "it wasn’t their fault.” Now imo today, that implies there was something wrong with them but we were to ignore that and treat them kindly (if we ever ran into any in real life - I saw blacks on the TV news).

In my town if you saw a Black on the street of course you would gawk (and maybe try not to but …) You would gawk if you saw a green person, too, It was that unusual. Today there are .02% (about 150 ? in a town of 60,000) but there are

There was one guy in my sophomore year of college who was black and gorgeous and very, very polite - nice to me. We chatted after theater rehearsals. He would have asked me out (and I would have happily gone) but I was already engaged to my hubby (whom I met in high school).

I think there were maybe 9 families in Porterville who were Black. They were related. They did well in school and one grew up to own a good business- car repair - and married an acquaintance. I Think there might still be 9 Black families in town. Mostly the Blacks live in Tulare.

Historically there was a town called Allensworth which was started by a Black Union soldier, Lieutenant Colonel from Kentucky (Colonel Allensworth) who escaped and joined the Union forces. The town was created in 1908 by him and some friends specifically for Blacks who were now free and had come to California.

But after a couple decades the water dried up and the Great Depression sent people looking for work in the cities. In the 1970s the town was made into a State Historic Site/Park
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allen_Allensworth
https://www.historynet.com/allensworth-californias-black-community.htm
Photos: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=24662
More photos:
https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ALeKk01vE5lttczDIk_FxPpIYXPHBXPhWQ:1627484638556&source=univ&tbm=isch&q=Allensworth&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiSk4jehIbyAhVZaM0KHZyVBwUQjJkEegQIBxAC&biw=1080&bih=521


Becky

On Jul 28, 2021, at 8:18 AM, Jim Harris <jameswallaceharris@outlook.com> wrote:

I mainly grew up in Florida, in and around Miami, but my mother's family was from Mississippi. In 1959 we moved to Marks, Mississippi and I lived there part of 3rd and 4th grade. I remember going into the Piggly-Wiggly store with my mom one time and suddenly this giant man rushed out of the back and started screaming at me. It totally terrified me. I had drunk from the water fountain for black people and he wanted to educate me. That made me scared of racists. I didn't even understand the differences between people of different colors, but I could tell the racists because of their violent tempers and anger. Ever since I haven't like people with strong emotions, and generally hateful people have strong emotions.

I lived in Mississippi twice while growing up, the second time in Charleston, for the first part of 10th grade, in 1966-67, the first year they integrated the high school. I was always horrified by the vicious racism I heard there. There was also constant quiet racism too, but it was the hot-tempered racism that scared and disgusted me. It wasn't that I was sympathetic towards black people at that age, although I was, I was conditioned to be against racism because the violent emotions of the racists horrified me. I believe those experiences were the beginning of my liberal education. Even now all the emotional outbursts caused by our politically polarized society upset me. It probably also conditioned me to be an introvert and stay away from people too.

Jim Harris





Jeffrey Taylor
 

In '67 and '68 my parents lived on Long Island is a suburb and I stayed with them those two summers working in an aircraft factory.  No black neighbors that I saw and the only black workers I saw were in the company kitchen.  It looked to me that de facto segregation prevailed on the Island.  

On Wednesday, July 28, 2021, 11:29:41 AM EDT, Becky Lindroos <bekah0176@...> wrote:


I only saw blacks on TV until I was 16 or so and moved to California.  There might have been one or two in Fargo but I don’t remember any in high school when I went there for two years.  Maybe I saw a couple on the streets of St. Paul or Minneapolis but we actually lived in a suburb and I don’t remember any there.

So when I moved to the San Joaquin Valley in California it was a shock,  There were very, very few blacks but there were Mexicans all over!  They’d all (except 1) gotten kicked out of school on Labor Day weekend because there’d been a riot at the armory where there was a dance.  The one Mexican student who had not got kicked out was also the class president. LOL!

There were other serious prejudices.  Okies were still hated in 1964. Many lived out at the farm labor camps like in The Grapes of Wrath. There were signs on stores which said “No Okies!” And the Okies hated the Mexicans in order to maintain their class/caste place in the pecking order of things.  And the Mexicans hated the Blacks to maintain theirs.

We were raised with the idea to be thankful we weren’t born “Negro” because, and specifically stated, "it wasn’t their fault.”  Now imo today, that implies there was something wrong with them but we were to ignore that and treat them kindly (if we ever ran into any in real life - I saw blacks on the TV news). 

In my town if you saw a Black on the street of course you would gawk (and maybe try not to but …)  You would gawk if you saw a green person, too,  It was that unusual.  Today there are .02% (about 150 ? in a town of 60,000) but there are

There was one guy in my sophomore year of college who was black and gorgeous and very, very polite - nice to me.  We chatted after theater rehearsals. He would have asked me out (and I would have happily gone) but I was already engaged to my hubby (whom I met in high school).

I think there were maybe 9 families in Porterville who were Black. They were related.  They did well in school and one grew up to own a good business- car repair - and married an acquaintance.  I Think there might still be 9 Black families in town.  Mostly the Blacks live in Tulare.

Historically there was a town called Allensworth which was started by a Black Union soldier, Lieutenant Colonel from Kentucky (Colonel Allensworth) who escaped and joined the Union forces.  The town was created in 1908 by him and some friends specifically for Blacks who were now free and had come to California.

But after a couple decades the water dried up and the Great Depression sent people looking for work in the cities.  In the 1970s the town was made into a State Historic Site/Park
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allen_Allensworth
https://www.historynet.com/allensworth-californias-black-community.htm
Photos:  https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=24662
More photos:
https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ALeKk01vE5lttczDIk_FxPpIYXPHBXPhWQ:1627484638556&source=univ&tbm=isch&q=Allensworth&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiSk4jehIbyAhVZaM0KHZyVBwUQjJkEegQIBxAC&biw=1080&bih=521


Becky

> On Jul 28, 2021, at 8:18 AM, Jim Harris <jameswallaceharris@...> wrote:
>
> I mainly grew up in Florida, in and around Miami, but my mother's family was from Mississippi. In 1959 we moved to Marks, Mississippi and I lived there part of 3rd and 4th grade. I remember going into the Piggly-Wiggly store with my mom one time and suddenly this giant man rushed out of the back and started screaming at me. It totally terrified me. I had drunk from the water fountain for black people and he wanted to educate me. That made me scared of racists. I didn't even understand the differences between people of different colors, but I could tell the racists because of their violent tempers and anger. Ever since I haven't like people with strong emotions, and generally hateful people have strong emotions.
>
> I lived in Mississippi twice while growing up, the second time in Charleston, for the first part of 10th grade, in 1966-67, the first year they integrated the high school. I was always horrified by the vicious racism I heard there. There was also constant quiet racism too, but it was the hot-tempered racism that scared and disgusted me. It wasn't that I was sympathetic towards black people at that age, although I was, I was conditioned to be against racism because the violent emotions of the racists horrified me. I believe those experiences were the beginning of my liberal education. Even now all the emotional outbursts caused by our politically polarized society upset me. It probably also conditioned me to be an introvert and stay away from people too.
>
> Jim Harris
>







Jeffrey Taylor
 

One summer I spent on the Island I had decided to go visit the Cloisters, a monastery in the high 100's north of Harlem. Even in the '60 the north bound route ran to series of trains marked A and B.  The A trains were the ones that stopped at the local stations in Harlem.  The B trains were local until the first H stop then ran express through Harlem and made local stops north of it.  At the platform on which I was standing, the first train that stopped was an A train and I boarded.  As we began the approach the Harlem neighborhood the density of white riders thinned and evaporated.   

On the ride through Harlem I was the only white face in the car.  Even the two transit cops who repeatedly strolled through the car were black.  I was sitting on a bench seat reading a book.  Alone.  Nobody who came into the car even looked in my direction.  





On Wednesday, July 28, 2021, 09:18:22 AM EDT, Jim Harris <jameswallaceharris@...> wrote:


I mainly grew up in Florida, in and around Miami, but my mother's family was from Mississippi. In 1959 we moved to Marks, Mississippi and I lived there part of 3rd and 4th grade. I remember going into the Piggly-Wiggly store with my mom one time and suddenly this giant man rushed out of the back and started screaming at me. It totally terrified me. I had drunk from the water fountain for black people and he wanted to educate me. That made me scared of racists. I didn't even understand the differences between people of different colors, but I could tell the racists because of their violent tempers and anger. Ever since I haven't like people with strong emotions, and generally hateful people have strong emotions.

I lived in Mississippi twice while growing up, the second time in Charleston, for the first part of 10th grade, in 1966-67, the first year they integrated the high school. I was always horrified by the vicious racism I heard there. There was also constant quiet racism too, but it was the hot-tempered racism that scared and disgusted me. It wasn't that I was sympathetic towards black people at that age, although I was, I was conditioned to be against racism because the violent emotions of the racists horrified me. I believe those experiences were the beginning of my liberal education. Even now all the emotional outbursts caused by our politically polarized society upset me. It probably also conditioned me to be an introvert and stay away from people too.

Jim Harris


Sandie Kirkland
 

These stories of never even seeing black folks growing up is so strange to me.  We had the typical Southern mixed society in terms of lots of white folks and lots of black folks.  Many families including mine had black women who came in and cleaned the house and ironed.  My brother and I loved Sally and I spent the days she came hanging out with her and talking.  I also have a memory of a black shoe repair man in our small town.  In those days, kids were free to roam the town and I spent a lot of time hanging out in Paul’s shoe repair shop in the back of the furniture store.  He would let me stay and watch him working and tell me stories and jokes. 

 

Sandie

 

From: AllNonfiction@groups.io <AllNonfiction@groups.io> On Behalf Of Jeffrey Taylor via groups.io
Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2021 12:13 PM
To: AllNonfiction@groups.io
Subject: Re: [AllNonfiction] To what extent are you woke?

 

In '67 and '68 my parents lived on Long Island is a suburb and I stayed with them those two summers working in an aircraft factory.  No black neighbors that I saw and the only black workers I saw were in the company kitchen.  It looked to me that de facto segregation prevailed on the Island.  

 

On Wednesday, July 28, 2021, 11:29:41 AM EDT, Becky Lindroos <bekah0176@...> wrote:

 

 

I only saw blacks on TV until I was 16 or so and moved to California.  There might have been one or two in Fargo but I don’t remember any in high school when I went there for two years.  Maybe I saw a couple on the streets of St. Paul or Minneapolis but we actually lived in a suburb and I don’t remember any there.

So when I moved to the San Joaquin Valley in California it was a shock,  There were very, very few blacks but there were Mexicans all over!  They’d all (except 1) gotten kicked out of school on Labor Day weekend because there’d been a riot at the armory where there was a dance.  The one Mexican student who had not got kicked out was also the class president. LOL!

There were other serious prejudices.  Okies were still hated in 1964. Many lived out at the farm labor camps like in The Grapes of Wrath. There were signs on stores which said “No Okies!” And the Okies hated the Mexicans in order to maintain their class/caste place in the pecking order of things.  And the Mexicans hated the Blacks to maintain theirs.

We were raised with the idea to be thankful we weren’t born “Negro” because, and specifically stated, "it wasn’t their fault.”  Now imo today, that implies there was something wrong with them but we were to ignore that and treat them kindly (if we ever ran into any in real life - I saw blacks on the TV news). 

In my town if you saw a Black on the street of course you would gawk (and maybe try not to but …)  You would gawk if you saw a green person, too,  It was that unusual.  Today there are .02% (about 150 ? in a town of 60,000) but there are

There was one guy in my sophomore year of college who was black and gorgeous and very, very polite - nice to me.  We chatted after theater rehearsals. He would have asked me out (and I would have happily gone) but I was already engaged to my hubby (whom I met in high school).

I think there were maybe 9 families in Porterville who were Black. They were related.  They did well in school and one grew up to own a good business- car repair - and married an acquaintance.  I Think there might still be 9 Black families in town.  Mostly the Blacks live in Tulare.

Historically there was a town called Allensworth which was started by a Black Union soldier, Lieutenant Colonel from Kentucky (Colonel Allensworth) who escaped and joined the Union forces.  The town was created in 1908 by him and some friends specifically for Blacks who were now free and had come to California.

But after a couple decades the water dried up and the Great Depression sent people looking for work in the cities.  In the 1970s the town was made into a State Historic Site/Park
Image removed by sender.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allen_Allensworth
Image removed by sender.https://www.historynet.com/allensworth-californias-black-community.htm
Photos:  Image removed by sender.https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=24662
More photos:
Image removed by sender.https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ALeKk01vE5lttczDIk_FxPpIYXPHBXPhWQ:1627484638556&source=univ&tbm=isch&q=Allensworth&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiSk4jehIbyAhVZaM0KHZyVBwUQjJkEegQIBxAC&biw=1080&bih=521


Becky

> On Jul 28, 2021, at 8:18 AM, Jim Harris <jameswallaceharris@...> wrote:
>
> I mainly grew up in Florida, in and around Miami, but my mother's family was from Mississippi. In 1959 we moved to Marks, Mississippi and I lived there part of 3rd and 4th grade. I remember going into the Piggly-Wiggly store with my mom one time and suddenly this giant man rushed out of the back and started screaming at me. It totally terrified me. I had drunk from the water fountain for black people and he wanted to educate me. That made me scared of racists. I didn't even understand the differences between people of different colors, but I could tell the racists because of their violent tempers and anger. Ever since I haven't like people with strong emotions, and generally hateful people have strong emotions.
>
> I lived in Mississippi twice while growing up, the second time in Charleston, for the first part of 10th grade, in 1966-67, the first year they integrated the high school. I was always horrified by the vicious racism I heard there. There was also constant quiet racism too, but it was the hot-tempered racism that scared and disgusted me. It wasn't that I was sympathetic towards black people at that age, although I was, I was conditioned to be against racism because the violent emotions of the racists horrified me. I believe those experiences were the beginning of my liberal education. Even now all the emotional outbursts caused by our politically polarized society upset me. It probably also conditioned me to be an introvert and stay away from people too.
>
> Jim Harris
>