A bunch of useless crap
Published on February 11, 2007 By MasonM In History
Having been born in Louisiana in 1961 I was too young to now clearly remember the desegregation battle that was fought in the South during the middle 20th century. Naturally I was taught about this in school, but there is a difference between learning some historical facts and actually being witness to such happenings.

I am watching a program on the local PBS channel that I haven't seen before. I think that it is titled "Eye On The Prize". It's a very detailed account of the various battles regarding this issue and includes film footage as well as interviews with many people who were directly involved at the time. It really is one of the most complete and detailed documentaries that I have seen on this period of American history.

Sitting here in the early 21st century and listening to the rhetoric of the segregationists it really is hard to fathom how these people could have honestly believed themselves to be on the right side of the issue. These aren't uneducated hicks. They're well educated lawyers, professors, state Governors, and other professional people. Segregation was a highly emotional topic during this period in American history and resulted in an amazing and disgusting amount of violence.

National Guard troops were used in Little Rock to prevent 9 black children from attending school, effectively using state troops to defy the Supreme Court. Federal troops were used to enforce the Supreme Court's ruling there. Federal troops had to be sent in to Mississippi to bring order after riots ensued over a black man being admitted to Ole Miss.

Looking back from our 21st century perspective, it is a confused and hateful period in our history and it is difficult to understand the position of those who sought to maintain such an unconstitutional and outright oppressive system in order to dehumanize a large segment of the population.

I for one am certainly glad that segregation was finally defeated and dismantled as such oppression has no place in a supposedly free society.


Comments
on Feb 11, 2007
Being born in 1983, I don't remember a time when things were segregated.

But I've studied it extensively in school, and I've also seen a few episodes of that "Eye on the Prize" series. It's fascinating to see just how poorly we treated each other over something so silly as the color of our skin. As you said, many of the proponents of segregation were highly educated individuals who we scoff at now. It's amazing how inbred a racial hatred can be.

Sometimes I've thought about how I'd feel in those days, if I was one of those white men at Ole Miss, for example, when they let the first black student in.

Would I accept him? Would I ignore him? Or worse, would I have been one of those bastards throwing rocks, etc., simply because that's what I'd been taught my whole life?

Man, I'm glad I live now.
on Feb 11, 2007
One county here in Virginia did not use troops to fight integration. They shut down the schools for about 5 years! While I was alive when that happened, thankfully I was not living in that part of the state.
on Feb 11, 2007
Would I accept him? Would I ignore him? Or worse, would I have been one of those bastards throwing rocks, etc., simply because that's what I'd been taught my whole life?


Yeah, that's something to think about isn't it? From our perspective looking back on it, it's easy to say "I wouldn't be like those people".
on Feb 11, 2007
They shut down the schools for about 5 years!


Yeah, that's how strongly those people believed in segregation. Seems pretty insane to use now, doesn't it?
on Feb 11, 2007
What's that word? Zeitgeist? Makes you wonder what folks will be shaking there heads about years down the road on what WE are doing now.
on Feb 11, 2007
Makes you wonder what folks will be shaking there heads about years down the road on what WE are doing now.


Probably the PC movement.

on Feb 11, 2007
Or animal rights for example. Imagine people thinking in the future "They used to eat pigs! And...and they even had a word for it! They called it bacon! How barbaric!!!
on Feb 11, 2007
Mason: " I for one am certainly glad that segregation was finally defeated and dismantled as such oppression has no place in a supposedly free society."

Excellent article Mason. I too, as an outsider, am glad that the days of "Mississippi Burning" are over.
on Feb 11, 2007
"They use to allow people to think for themselves!"
on Feb 11, 2007

Or animal rights for example. Imagine people thinking in the future "They used to eat pigs! And...and they even had a word for it! They called it bacon! How barbaric!!!


Ya never know.
on Feb 11, 2007

Mason: " I for one am certainly glad that segregation was finally defeated and dismantled as such oppression has no place in a supposedly free society."



Excellent article Mason. I too, as an outsider, am glad that the days of "Mississippi Burning" are over.



Thanks.
on Feb 11, 2007

"They use to allow people to think for themselves!"


Meaning what?
on Feb 11, 2007
In the mid-seventies, I remember hearing John Howard Griffin, the American jounalist, speak about his efforts and the efforts of other civil rights activists to register black voters in the south in the early 60's.

This journalist took the drug Oxsoralen in high doses and used ultraviolet light to turn his skin black. He spent 6 weeks in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama passing himself off as a black man, in 1959, so he could know what it was to experience segregation from a white American perspective. He wrote about this in a series of journal articles and then a book called "Black Like Me". He died at age 60 of skin cancer. Hearing him speak about his involvement in the civil rights movement, there was a feeling of being in the presence of greatness.
on Feb 12, 2007
I too, as an outsider, am glad that the days of "Mississippi Burning" are over


Ditto...

There are, however, some people living in Australia who still tend to think anyone from a different culture is a threat to their way of life. We still have a ways to go...

Good article, Mason.
on Feb 12, 2007
Good article, Mason.


Ditto! Thoughtfully written, i.e., from your perspective!


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