A bit of History

Aw, reading the news this morning about the riots and uprisings across the country, a personal event came to mind. It was 1963 and I had just got my release from the Army. I wanted to go to Atlanta, where my older brother was, and I could get back to finish college. On the way there in a VW, I stopped near Birmingham, AL to play golf. After the round, and back on the city streets, I noticed I was being followed by a pick-up with 3 or 4 guys in the back. It scared me, and I kept going. Why were they following me so close? Here I was a Chicago kid with an Illinois license plate in a southern city during the days when many northerners went south to counter the southern civil rights against Black racist agenda.

Apparently, those white Alabama kids thought I was one of those Yankees supporting the Black uprisings in the south. No, I was just a guy wanting to get on with his life after 3 years in the Army. After getting settled in Atlanta, enrolling at Georgia State College, I got a job with an Auto manufacturer. There I was, working alongside other guys about my age. During lunch breaks, I felt alone as the others would not associate with me, a Yankee with an easily detected Chicago accent. After 3 months, I was told I had to join the union. I quit. Outta there and back to school.
Racial unrest has always been a problem in the US ever since the slave trade of Africa brought thousands of black over black slaves to work the cotton fields of the south. Muslims also enslaved Africans and sold them to Americans. In my Chicago High School, we had a few African Americans sitting next to me in English or History classes and on the baseball team.

In the army, we were just Army guys regardless of skin color. Two and a half years of racial harmony living peacefully together in defense of our Country. Why can’t we do that now?

The BIG difference between the ’60s riots and now is the technology of 24/7 news to get our attention, the internet, computers, and everyone voicing opinions of their hurts and injustice 24/7. Yes, economic injustice is the basis of it all, using the few unjust actions of the police, which the media highlights in delight.
Come on folks, let’s call it quits and return to ‘love one another as you’d like to be loved’ and accepted. You know, I don’t even like to use the words White or Black or Brown to describe our differences. We are all descendants of Adam and Eve through Noah. Having been dispersed after the tower fiasco to different parts of this earth and after thousands of years of living in the sun-drenched south that original sun-tan became embedded in their DNA and passed on to the kiddies. That’s all for now. Time for me to relax and thank God for this day.

Author: Arnold R. Kropp

About Mr. Arnold. Back in the days when I was a kid growing up in south Chicago, freely roaming around the neighborhood was common, and just a part of life in the late '40s and early '50s. A train track was less than a mile away and a favorite place to walk along the rails. A large city park was a bit closer with areas of dense trees and areas of open grassy picnic grounds. A public golf course was just two blocks away, but the famed 4-lane busy Western avenue had to be crossed to get to it, and we crossed in the middle of the block running between the cars and trucks. We knew the risks. In the winters, we would climb that fence making our way to one of the ponds, we’d push and shovel away the snow and play a spontaneous game of hockey, or bring a sled and slide down the hillside ; no adults, no special padding, just a group of kids enjoying the contest. Dad was at work. Mom was home tending to the laundry and preparing the family meal for promptly at 6 pm. Life was good. It was fun. Sunday mornings were dress up in suit and tie, polished shoes for Sunday school and the worship service, then to a restaurant. Arnold went on to college immediately after high school, but could not find a subject, a major that was really up his alley, so he enlisted in the Army and served in Germany during the years the Berlin wall was built. Seeing what effects Soviet communism had on the people of East Germany left an impression on him. During those years, he would write many long letters home starting a desire to write more than just letters. Many years later Arnold developed a blog where he posted hundreds of articles on the political side of American life. Some of those are available in the collection named "Ramblings". Today, Society is totally different from that of the '50s, a whole lot different. Today, it has become scary to let the kids roam. Today it has become organized to the hilt with 2nd graders playing organized football. In my present relatively quiet neighborhood, I do see kids walking the streets, but there is a difference as the kids seem to be apprehensive and on guard or intently operating a telephone as they walk, not running after each other playing hide and seek. Today, the above freedoms of the '50s are suspect and avoided as being dangerous activities. And that is sad. It's sad that today's kids do not have that freedom, and it may be having a direct effect on their development. Consider, one fact that is readily apparent today compared to yesterday; the preponderance of overweight and obese kids, even pre-school kids are heavier than we were, and this has to be affecting the rest of their daily lives. No doubt about it. But, I'd better hush, can't talk about those things. Yes, in the '50s there were Semi-trucks, public transportation, murders, rape, robberies, house fires, sickness and diseases resulting in death, and yes, there were deadly vehicle accidents too. There was even poverty and homosexuals too. We went to public schools, and the high school was integrated. This was Chicago, but those events did not make the headlines, as news was only broadcast at 6pm and possibly 10pm nightcap. Days of the cold war kept us together as a nation. We saw the "Victory at Sea" war clips before the main feature at the theaters. And now technology dominates life. A cell phone in every handy pocket posting selfies. A computer saving everything to one of those cumulous clouds. Room size TV’s broadcasting everything 24/7. This is more information than I want. Let me decide something. I think. therefore, I am. I was born a male, therefore I am. I was born-again, therefore I am. I have life within, therefore I am. The news is not my guide. The TV is not my Sheppard.

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