The fall of 1967 is when the schools in Jefferson County were fully integrated. That same fall the number of private schools in Alabama went from 35 to over a 130.
In the fall of 1970 I entered the first grade. I was a member of the 4th fully integrated class. As I recall my mother did not mention this to me or mention to me that school had not always been this way. As far as I was concerned schools had always contained children, some were white and others were black, but I was blissfully unaware of any prior arrangement.
For twelve years I went to school with African-Americans. My mother worked at the school in the lunch room. To my memory I can never remember her saying any of the derogatory words used by others to describe African-Americans. I am not so naive to believe she never used these distasteful words, but I am fully aware she never used them in front of me.
It was only later in life that I realized how revolutionary these times were. I can recall with fondness the names of many of my African-American classmates. I cannot remember at any time having a negative experience with any of these classmates because their skin was a different color.
While this was a wonderful introduction to another race, it certainly has not been my last. My experience with people of different races, African-American, Hispanic, Asian-American, and others has been positive and rewarding.
This is why I remain shocked when people like Donald Sterling and you still exist. I’m sure African-Americans are not shocked, and maybe I shouldn’t be.
I once preached a sermon it was 1992 or 1993. In it I mention how judging another by the color of their skin and being prejudice was sinful. Frankly I did not think the sermon was “news” it was 25 years after integration. I greeted a man at the door and he said to me, “I never knew being a racist was sinful.” I wish I was making this up.
I’m never sure why things work out for me as they do. Maybe the positive environment in which I was raised had something to do with it? Maybe I have rubbed elbows with good people? Maybe I simply look for the good in others? Maybe it was God’s grace?
Clive and Donald it’s not complicated. Jesus made it simple—- “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Luke 6:31).