Growing up, I was clueless about segregation

Published: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 05:35 PM.

But I didn’t have any of those thoughts as I was way too busy being the center of the universe. My life consisted of girls, jukeboxes, dancing, guns and fishing poles, which left little room for much else, certainly nobody’s lack of rights.

Note that cars weren’t on my list of priorities. Wheels were surely necessary to get me from A to B and back, but I couldn’t care less what they were rolling under. I still don’t care a whit about what I drive, which is obvious to anybody who sees me driving around in my dirty ’98 325,000-mile Isuzu.

But giving tiny credit to my self-absorbed brain, I finally begin developing a conscience about the denial of basic rights based purely upon color. Those analytical brain cells first woke up in 1959 when I went off to Chapel Hill.

Until then I’d never attended an integrated school, never even thought about it one way or another. UNC at Chapel Hill was my first racially integrated school experience, and I didn’t even notice. Black, white, yellow, brown, everybody read from the same textbooks, heard the same lectures and took the same tests.

I’d like to say I put deep thought into it back then, but that’d be a lie. There simply wasn’t anything to ponder. Going to school with other races was just going to school.

Martin Luther King had the right message and came along at precisely the right time and molded the country. And, as many great leaders, left all too soon.

Now snake oil salesmen are peddling racial strife in his shadow. I can almost visualize Roman soldiers and a pair of dice.

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