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  • I grew up in South Philadelphia, we didn't realize it was segregated.

  • All we knew is that neighborhood was all black.

  • And we weren't even that conscious of color because the people who owned the store down the street with black, the tailor, the restaurant owners, the undertake everybody in the neighborhood.

  • And it was a very small street working.

  • Everybody worked blue collar, essentially very close knit neighborhood.

  • Everyone had over four Children.

  • We played in the streets together on Saturday morning.

  • Our parents came out, the hucksters came around and their parents purchased things.

  • We had to go buy ice because there were no refrigerators.

  • Then we had a coal stove.

  • So the younger kids were responsible for, uh, putting wood and cold into the stove and keeping it going.

  • And, ah, the level interests and education was just profound.

  • I mean, I mean, even to this day, I don't think I've ever, ever had such a positive educational experience that I did my 1st 6 years because school was an integral part of the community.

  • We had a black superintendent, black principal.

  • All the teachers were black.

  • Many of them didn't live in the neighborhood, either.

  • Contrary to popular belief.

  • They were middle income people lived elsewhere, but their hearts and their souls were into those kids.

  • I remember that third grade fourth grade plays were always, uh, conducted in the evenings so that parents could attend an auditorium that seated maybe 405 100 people with standing room only for third and fourth grade play.

  • Um, up until 1959 78% of all black families had a man and a woman in them.

  • That's a fact.

  • Teen pregnancy was, uh, looked down upon sexual activity among kids.

  • Uh, everyone bragged about it.

  • No one did it.

  • And, uh, But if someone became pregnant, if there was an aunt in the South, they would go there there, so that the the moral standards and ethical standards for people living in those communities was extremely high.

  • It had little to do with your income.

  • Um, many of us were poor without realizing that we re poor during the war years.

  • I thought everyone, um, had one pair of shoes.

  • Uh, today I have a lot of shoes because of those early experiences.

  • You know, you put cardboard in your shoes when your souls were one.

  • You never went to your mother and said, Mom, my shoes need to be replaced or fixed.

  • You just knew that the money wasn't there for that.

  • So you got the thickest piece of cardboard you confined and put in your shoes.

  • And if it didn't rain, you could last about two days.

  • The discipline was in the community.

  • I mean, you didn't speak back to an adult.

  • The thought of an elderly person being disrespected was just unheard of.

  • And teachers were never disrespected.

  • And if you misbehave squat, you would be spanked by a neighbor.

  • Then you got your mother got home or following a home.

  • You respect there.

  • And, God forbid, a teacher should ever have to send for your parents.

  • And they had to take off work.

  • That was it.

  • And so it it imposed a kind of discipline.

  • And again, it was a discipline that had little to do with how much money you there was.

  • A sense of comfort, a sense of well being, a sense of oneness between the school in the in the community, the early day civil rights was not an issue.

  • Ah, the black colleges skate.

  • Kids like me a high school dropout whom dropped out with three months after my 17th birthday and then went into the military and get introduced to learning there.

  • Uh, got on flying status, went to AA a really nice military school, learned airborne electronics.

  • Um, it's, um, flying with the military and then finish my high school education there.

  • Andi and was told that I could enter any any college in the country because of my scores.

  • But I like the kind of confidence, Uh, and but the black college ist my college.

  • Cheyney State College, I think reached out to me was a warm environment.

  • It was almost a continuation of the kind of warm and accepting environment I experience in the black schools in my native Philadelphia and my old neighborhood.

  • It was just Chaney was a continuation of that kind of loving experience, but it was tough.

  • I remember being entered with 13 other veterans, and we were given some priority and admissions because it was thought that we were a tour.

  • My grades weren't that great, and so we replaced on academic probation.

  • But all the half of us made the dean's list at the end of the first year from academic probation.

  • Many of us who ah, who exercise leadership in the civil rights movement in the early and mid sixties integration was never our goal.

  • We never saw integration as a solution to the problems.

  • We were seeking desegregation.

  • And I think confusion on that point has continued to erode itself.

  • The collective self confidence of the black community today just a very confusion.

  • You see, I fought against the jury segregation.

  • That is when someone absolutely forbid me to go with a restaurant.

  • What living a given housing complex?

  • I was just restricted by law.

  • I remember when I was discharged from the military, coming home in 1958 and standing and in Florida only person at the ticket window and have the man stop and wait on a white person.

  • He waited on 10 white people while I was standing there.

  • In the meantime, I almost missed the train and couldn't check my bags.

  • That's what I fought against the indignity of America's apartheid system.

  • So integration was never, ah, a issue for me or for many others.

  • Oh, absolutely a flaming idealists who had this burning desire to ah, the change things primarily because of my early experience.

  • That's someone growing up in the South and then being sort of dropped in the growing up in the north and then dropped in the South in the military facing Ross segregation.

  • Ah, I was very bitter from that experience for three years after my discharge, the military.

  • I remember my heart racing every time it red light with flash in my rear view mirror because I was arrested three times and in prison in local jails three times because of my activism in the South.

  • And so those early memories really motivated me to do something about it.

I grew up in South Philadelphia, we didn't realize it was segregated.

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B1 INT black military neighborhood south discipline integration

The 1950s Inner-city Black Communities Were Strong

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    林宜悉   posted on 2020/03/27
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