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.