Although I am not black, I revel in the fact that there have been so many changes in the American people in regards to attitudes towards the black society.
I lived during the years where blacks had a difficult time integrating into the American
society. Unfortunately, segregation was pretty much accepted in the earlier years. I lived in California most of my life, so I really did not witness how badly blacks were treated. It was when I took a train trip to New Orleans with my parents when my eyes opened.
The first thing that absolutely stunned me was when my parents and I got off the train and walked through the train station. I couldn’t believe my eyes!!!!!!! The blacks were seated on one side, the whites, on the other side.
While I was waiting for my dad to rent a car, I went to the Ladies Room. I was aghast!!!!! I read the sign on the door: No Colored People Allowed I was more displeased when I saw a black custodian walking out with a pail and a mop. Oh, I thought to myself, blacks are not allowed to use the bathrooms but they are completely accepted to do the dirty work. I proceeded to the drinking fountain, again, I saw another sign, No Colored People Allowed. Where are they suppose to go? A little later, I found the answer when I read another sign in front of a drinking fountain and a bathroom that read Coloreds Only.
There is another surprise to come: My parents and I were looking for a certain restaurant the next day. As we were walking down the street, since we didn’t know the exact location, when a black man was walking toward us, I stopped to ask him a question as to where this eating place was located. Wow!!!! How shocked he looked!!!! Obviously, he couldn’t believe that a young white girl would stop to ask a colored man a question. He appeared to be so stunned, but finally he answered me.
Although we didn’t have forced segregation in the schools when I was in elementary and high school in Los Angeles, there were very few blacks that attended the schools that I went to because they lived in a different neighborhood.
I will have to add, however, that after the Watts riots in Los Angeles which was somewhere in the sixties, I have experienced some attitudes of awakening with some black people.
Some of them were overreacting. An example of this is when I was shopping in the market, and accidentally bumped my cart against a black woman ahead of me, I excused myself. She angrily answered, “You did that purposely.” I’ve had a few other incidents like this, but this one stood out in my memories.
I’m so happy that this type of relationship has changed regarding the blacks, but now we have religious groups where changes in attitudes have to be made.