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February 27, 2014

Local reverend discusses evolution of civil rights over 6 decades

(Continued)

CHICKASHA —

 

1970s: 

 

"By this time the blatant discrimination in public places had been eliminated and the reality of change began to set in. This was the love decade. Legal segregation had been eliminated, but there were still centuries of segregation in people's hearts. Not everyone loved us and the love we had came with stipulations. There was resentment and we began to run into backlash. You could go into a movie theater or restaurant, but no one could make you feel welcome there. We had to learn not to react, but to respond with indifference. A reaction would cause an unnecessary confrontation, and we were there whether anyone liked it or not, so you just had to do what you came there to do. You could come to an event and just because you came in, people would get up and start leaving, or ask to be seated elsewhere. A black person may be able to afford a home in a particular neighborhood, but the neighborhood association would bring up rules and regulations to prevent you from buying there. A real estate agent may not sell to you, or a bank may not lend to you. That is what we faced. 

 

1980s: 

 

"This period brought about a decade of greed for everyone. The Civil Rights Movement had become comfortable. We took our eyes off the prize. We began to focus on ourselves rather than the struggle, but the struggle was not over. There was an entire generation that was unaware of segregation and just assumed the world was always the way it was in the '80s. Both whites and blacks had forgotten where they were from and both settled into an uneasy security. It was a truce more than a victory. The sense was some whites adopted the notion of not being able to do anything about us being there, and blacks would not try to take it any further than that." 

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