Monday, January 17, 2005

Recollecting the end of segregated schools and public facilities in Bristol

Today's Bristol paper had this interesting article with recollections of some Bristolians of what it was like when the schools and other facilities were integrated in Bristol.

The article says that small towns like Bristol did not put up much of a fight against integration. One story retold is that on a Wednesday, the mayors from the Virginia and Tennessee sides and the manager of the Paramount theater met and on Thursday blacks were admitted to the movie theater.

I've retold here before the story of a Virginia judge who recalled when as a child on a trip to town he first saw a water fountain that said "Colored," he rushed over to see what color the water was, only to be disappointed that the water appeared was not colored water at all. The point of the discussion in which this story was told, as I recall it now at the remove of some years, was not that the progress of race relations has been remarkable, but rather that it is remarkable how much had to change just to get where we are now.

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