Thursday, February 15, 2018

Black History Month (Elliot and Frances)

I wanted to do something special on this blog for Black History Month. I went looking through posts that Benita wrote for Black History Months past, and I saw this line: "The way history books tell about civil rights is big and ceremonial; the way my senior buds tell about it is personal and complicated." If you haven't lived through the movement, or if you haven't lived through racism, the Civil Rights era looks like  marches and speeches and Martin Lither King. If you have, it's about your school, your neighborhood, your police force, your boss, your family; an entire lifetime that leads to speeches and marches.

For the entire month of February, I'll be posting stories about the Civil Rights era, the Black Lives Matter movement, and about racism in general. Even in last week's post about the Eagles, one of the stories was written by a former Black Panther. I'm doing this because it makes sense to hear about the history of our Black older buds during Black History Month.
Elliott Doomes
I Wonder Why

​I wonder why I have no home country. I wonder why I have no language. I wonder why I have no culture. I wonder why I have no flag. I have no music. I have no history. As far as history goes, as a people, our history started 400 years ago. Everything was given to us by our former slave masters.
You can trace our history all the way back to the Mayflower and before. We were taught that we were nothing and never would be anything but a slave. The emancipation proclamation was supposed to free slaves, which only meant we were supposed to assimilate. I think we took on the worst of our ex-masters. Like the Native Americans were given alcohol, we were given guns.
We now have children killing children. When will it end? They see on television the police that are supposed to be protecting them are killing them. Everyday you see on the news that a policeman has killed an unarmed person or child with a gun. No one is held accountable for these crimes. Our young people think it’s alright to take a gun and go kill somebody because they never see consequences of these actions.
They see these kinds of actions as power. They have not had proper education. Education is a very expensive commodity in America.
They see people who are good at committing crimes end up with the cars and the houses and the pretty girls because they have money. Money is the violent force behind most of these young people killing each other. That money is derived from selling drugs. Since they have no education this is what they do. They sell drugs. They believe that what they do isn’t a crime. They don’t see it as anything wrong. It’s supply and demand. People want this so we’ll give it to them.
I remember one young man said to his Father, “How can you tell me what to do; I make more money than you.” He’s dead now, but his Father is still living. I have an idea for a solution to the problem of violence in our community. If the kids had something to occupy their mind and their time, they wouldn’t be in bad places. We have to show them there’s something else they can do.
It’ll be a hard time, but somebody’s got to do it. Most of these kids are angry. If we don’t give them something to occupy their mind and their time, we will lose them.
​I’m not worried about myself. I’ve lived my life. I’ve got children and grandchildren. They don’t know about the 60’s and the Civil Rights movement. They don’t know how we had to fight to go to school and vote. We already fought these battles. We shouldn’t have to fight them again.
If anything happens to me, the first thing I’m doing is buying a gun. I’m not talking about our streets. I’m talking about our judicial system.
Justice is for those who can afford it. I remember they used to burn flags in the streets and there was no uproar. Now it’s un-American. People are just protesting. It scares people that other people in the world aren’t right. When politicians go around the world, they tell people they need to straighten up their own backyards, and then they can come here.
That’s what we need. We have to straighten up our own backyard.

Frances Bryce
Southern Reality

Living in the south during times when segregation was a way of life, in the small town where I was born, as well as others in both the north and the south.
We learned early how to live in a town where we the People did not include people of color.
One of my experience living in the segregated city of Lauren, S.C. occurred when my high school was leveled by fire. I can’t recall how long the building of the new school took. We were housed in one of the Black churches until the completion of the new school. Soon the seats from the White school were placed in the new school (the ones that was permanent, that we moved to the floor and the new seats were sent to the White school.)
Old uniforms from the same school was given to the Black school (mind you they were not the school colors and the purchase of new uniforms were made available to the White school.
There were charges made after parents were given the choice of attending the Black school or the integrated (former all White school; a number of kids and parents opt to stay in their previous school.” I persuaded my brother to send his kids to the integrated school because I knew the resources would be in the school that was integrated and thus getting the best of what was offered to the education system.
Things have changed there in only one high school in Lauren, since the laws that were already implemented were now honored, not easily, but successfully.
If you enjoy these stories, then please share them with friends, family, or anyone else who loves storytelling. Happy Black History Month.

Curated by Caitlin Cieri