In the July 2 front-page article marking 50 years after the Civil Rights Act, I zeroed in on the part about the black lawyer checking on details of her current case, and "the clerk cut her off and told her, 'Go sit down with the rest of the defendants.'" It was the inappropriate handling of a personal situation by incompetent people who are given a job requiring good judgment and authority that needs to be addressed.
As a little white boy who grew up in an Anglo-Saxon environment, I found it interesting to be transplanted to the North Carolina's Kure Beach Hotel in 1932. It was staffed by dark-skinned people, whom I found to be most polite, helpful and well appreciated by the white visitors.
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This was the inaugural of the Ethyl-Dow Chemical plant being constructed across the isthmus at the mouth of the Cape Fear River. Locals were contacted to be part of this venture. Ability, education, read-and-write English were the basic requirements. Black and white applicants soon lined the personnel office.
Much to the local population's consternation, many of the managerial positions went to the black applicants who could do the job functions best, and white laborers found they were to work under black managers. Very interesting times!
I attended a consolidated school and asked where the black students were. "They have their own school and we don't go to their school. They must be real special!" Travels into Wilmington enlightened me. They had their own bathrooms, restaurants, drinking fountains. I asked why, and the response was, "It's just the way it is here." Being 5 years old I said "OK" and proceeded to follow my upbringing and be polite and treat all people with proper respect and dignity.
Howard M. Richardson