View Full Version : Segregation 'a way of living' before ruling

03-24-2004, 02:47 PM
Segregation 'a way of living' before ruling

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

The Express-Times

BETHLEHEM TWP. -- Segregation is a lesson that should be taught in places beyond history classrooms, said five Lehigh Valley residents who grew up attending segregated schools.

"This is something that's real," said former Easton Area High School Principal Alfredean Jones, who grew up in South Carolina. "This is something that actually happened. You have history sitting before you telling you what really happened."
The five panelists were part of a Tuesday symposium organized by Northampton Community College commemorating the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court decision that outlawed segregation in public schools.

The case's namesake is Linda Brown, a black girl from Topeka, Kan., who was bused to a school five miles away even though there was one just four blocks from her house. The decision, handed down May 17, 1954, overruled the previous "separate but equal" standard that allowed schools to be segregated.

The five panelists at the NCC discussion were: Jones, Melvin Tatem, pastor of Grace Deliverance Baptist Church in Bethlehem; Mabel Humphrey, a critical care nurse at Lehigh Valley Hospital; Bethlehem resident Louise Watson and Alvie Fennel, president of the African-American Resource Group at PPL Corp.

Humphrey was among the first black students to attend the all-white high school near her home in Marion, Ala.

"Basically, you came into class, and you knew your seat was in the back," she said. "It was a challenge to get the teacher to recognize you."

Humphrey said she always strove to accomplish even more than expected because she had to prove herself to her white peers and teachers. Although she had the highest grade-point average, she was not permitted to participate in spelling bees or other extra activities because of the color of her skin, she said.

"Sometimes, I used to really feel bad about being alone and not being chosen to do things because I was coming from a black school where I was very popular, and that was all gone," she said. "We didn't do any activities. If we wanted to go to the prom, we had to go to the one at the black school."

Several of the panelists said they had no experience at all with integrated schools.

"Even though Brown v. the Board of Ed came down in '54, segregation did not end at that time," Jones said. "It wasn't until the '60s that the integration started."

For Jones, the inequities of segregation were not something frequently discussed in his family.

"It was a way of living," he said. "My parents never discussed race with us; they discussed the value of education. The laws were against you. It was against the law to look at a white woman where I come from."

In the 1950s, segregation extended beyond schools and into stores, restaurants, churches and hospitals, the panelists said.

"Even as a kid, you could tell that (white people) looked at you and treated you differently," Fennel said.

Fennel's mother always treated white people with respect, referring to them as Mr. or Mrs. But white people did not extend the same courtesy to her, he said.

Blacks today often take their civil rights and freedoms for granted, Fennel said.

"And if we continue to be complacent, we are going to go right back," he said. "I can't believe we have people who don't vote."

Just a few generations ago, people were arrested and beaten in order to win the right to vote, he said.

"People died and were injured to give us that right," Fennel said. "And we just take it for granted."

Reporter Beth Braverman can be reached at 610-258-7171 or by e-mail at bbraverman@express-times.com.

Copyright 2004 NJ.com. All Rights Reserved.

03-24-2004, 03:37 PM
I remember watching a documentary on when busing first started. I believe it took place in Michigan (not sure), it was pretty sad to watch. It showed these white mothers screaming vicious remarks about keeping their children away from black people. I always wondered, did these racist parents teach their kids to think the same way as them? They probably did. And some people think that racism and discrimination still doesn't go on today. It may be less than what it was before the civil rights movement, but it still happens, now with more discretion.

03-24-2004, 04:35 PM
I grew up in Front Royal,VA ,a small town about sixty miles west of Washington,DC and attended a "regional" High School in Manassas,VA (circa 1959) where I lived in a dormitory and came home every other week.(there was no high school for Blacks )
When the high school in my home town was intergrated the majority left and attended the newly established private "John Mosby Academy".

03-24-2004, 10:47 PM
And some people think that racism and discrimination still doesn't go on today. It may be less than what it was before the civil rights movement, but it still happens, now with more discretion.
<hr /></blockquote> I absolutely agree. Just take a look at Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton. These guys do nothing for the black people, except keep throwing the white man in their face. These guys would rather black people feel like victims than independent, strong people.

The biggest proponent for modern day racism/discrimination is Affirmative Action. Affirmative Action does nothing but move blacks to the front of the line. Is this any different than when the whites were moving themselves to the fronts of the buses and restaurants? Sounds the same to me, just the tides have turned.

The ACLU is also one of the biggest racist/discriminatory groups out there. I have never heard of them fighting for the white man.

How about BET. What would happen if there was a station called White Entertainment Television. Sure there are stations that might carry this type of programming (I am not sure of any that do this on purpose, but maybe the country music channel? /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif ), however they will never be able to call themselves that. They would be considered racist.

I personally am not a racist and really don't care who works beside me, lives beside me, plays ball with/against me. It just does not matter. What does bug me, is Affirmative Action, reparations, Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson, etc. I don't even care about college scholarships for black people. BET really does not bother me, it is just the simple fact that these can exist in complete contradiction to another race doing the same thing. Would an all white music station make it today, NOPE. I know that, and I am not advocating it, I am just trying to state the contradiction of the black leadership in America who would absolutely cry racism if a white station tried to get on the airwaves.

After saying all that, I think the young men and women of America are much more tolerant of skin color than ever before. Once they begin running corporate America I think we will see some move in the right direction and hopefully continue weeding out the racism/discrimination complaints. This will obviously never happen completely but hopefully it will continue to get better.

I thought it was hilarious when the ACLU (or some organization like them) cried racism when John Kerry's wife was referred to as an "african-american". I guess political correctness has fallen off an even higher cliff. THE WOMAN IS FROM AFRICA AND NOW LIVING HERE (not sure if she is a citizen of the US). The problem was not with the African part of the American part, they had a problem with the hyphen. It appears to be common knowledge amongst the blacks that they are African-Americans and people like Mrs. Kerry are only African Americans. What a joke.

eg8r &lt;~~~Laughed my butt off at the black girl on the Trump intern show when she called the other girl a racist because she said, "Now ain't that the teapot calling the kettle black" (or whatever the saying is /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif )

03-25-2004, 05:25 AM

03-25-2004, 10:47 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote eg8r:</font><hr> I don't even care about college scholarships for black people.
<hr /></blockquote>

This reminds me of something that happened recently here in Des Moines...
A high school student who was born and raised in South Africa (he's white) campaigned for an African-American scholarship and he was expelled, and later allowed back into school. Is he not African-American? Does he not have probably more African heritage in him than any other student at his school? What would make him ineligible for the scholarship? Better yet, why would they expel him from school for campaigning for it?

03-25-2004, 11:55 AM
This has recently happened with Mrs. Kerry. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif She is African American also, however she is not black. What was not known by non-blacks is that the hyphen creates controversy. Only a black person can use the hyphenated descriptor. All other skin colors must not use the hyphenated word. Stupid, I tell ya.