Letter: Look elsewhere for racial divide
Published 12:00 am Friday, August 14, 2015
When you have known and respect someone as I do Mayor Jim Thornton, you find it very hard to come out against them. I have pondered on this for a week and have decided the best way to respond to Mr. Thornton and the others that feel we have a racial problem in Troup County is a brief look back in history to what racial divide is and how far we have come.
Let us skip through the Civil War, the Reconstruction era, 1865–1870, the depression of 1890s, which gave us the Jim Crow laws, 1880s–1960s. Let’s just look at the last 50 years, and see how far race relations have progressed .
On Feb. 18 , 1965, an Alabama state trooper shot a young black man in Marion, Alabama, during a civil rights protest in hopes of changing the unfairness of the Jim Crow laws. This prompted civil rights leaders to organize a 54-mile march between Selma, Alabama, and the capital city, Montgomery, Alabama.
So on March 7, 1965, around 600 marchers meet at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. As they approached the bridge they were meet with a wall of Alabama state troopers, sheriffs, a wall of authority with clubs, tear gas and horses used to break up the protesters.
The one thing they weren’t counting on is the cameras — that night on the evening news in 48 million homes, inside their living rooms, Americans from coast to coast saw the beating of black men, women and children; they saw racial divide at its worst. This day become to be known as “Bloody Sunday.”
Two days later, on March 9, Martin Luther King lead a symbolic march up to the bridge where he was meet with more resistance and turned around this day known as “Turnaround Tuesday.” Then on March 21, 1965, Selma, Alabama, at the base of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, 32,000 people — over half of which were WHITE — joined hand in hand with the black people, and did the three-day, 54-mile march arriving Montgomery, Alabama, on March 25, 1965.
At this era in American history, I was helping my granddaddy with his paper route delivering the Birmingham News. Having a fifth grade education at that time, I knew how to read (which is more than some 12th graders can’t do today) but every day, headlines staring me in the face, I read about it.
In town I saw the white and colored water fountains, the three restrooms, the separate window counter at the Dairy Quick. That, my friend, is racial divide. You want to compare LaGrange to Ferguson, Baltimore and the crazy drug-head in Charlotte is so beneath the citizens of LaGrange and Troup County.
Question time: can you give me five examples of racial divide in Troup County, how about three? Two more points: like on March 21, 1965, I believe that the citizens of Troup County will rise together to right any injustice to their neighbors, and second, the protesters at Ferguson are still waiting to get paid at last report.
In today’s America, there is no more slavery, all the slaves and slave owners are long gone. There is no more Jim Crow laws, only opportunity for those that take advantage of the sacrifice of those of the past. So for anyone to call anyone racist is still looking for an excuse to pass the blame onto someone else, and not look at their shortfalls.
You want to look for racial divide, look in Washington, not in LaGrange.