Historic Storage Building

Prior to the desegregation of the Alabama school system, this building was a school for African-American children.  Students from multiple counties would travel to this school, since there only a few available in North Alabama.

Researching the history of this school and the building was not easy.  There is very little information about it on the internet and most of what I learned came from the local people.

The building is now being used as a storage facility and is not being maintained well.
That seems like such a waste to me.  Here we have a building with great historical significance, just wasting away in obscurity.

If I could purchase the property, I would turn it into a civil rights museum.  That seems to be a better way of honoring the history of this site.

Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin

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John Howard Griffin was a reporter in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.  He heard about discrimination and segregation in the southern states.  He was aware of the civil rights movement that was just starting to take hold in Montgomery, Alabama.

Griffen knew as a white man, he would never truly understand what life was like for the black people.  Griffin wanted to know, “What is it like to experience discrimination based on skin color, something over which one has no control?”

Griffin found a dermatologist that was willing to prescribe medication that can cause a person’s skin to get darker.  The medicine was normally used for people suffering with a skin disease that caused white blotches to appear on their skin.  However, Griffin would need to take way more than the recommended dose.  The doctor required blood test during the first few weeks to ensure there were no adverse effects.

Griffin also used sun lamps and a stain to help his skin get as dark as possible.  Then he shaved his head and boarded a bus to New Orleans.  He spent several weeks in New Orleans, before traveling to Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.

Griffin gives a detailed account of his experiences in his book,  “Black Like Me.”  He was surprised to see how helpful the black people were to a stranger.  He was able to stay with various families and get to know what their life was really like.

At several points, he had to find a place to be alone.  He would start crying at the injustice he was seeing, especially when children were involved.  He was appalled by how some of the white people treated black children.

Griffin also described his interactions with white people.  He was taken aback by how hateful some people behaved.  He was amazed by the cruelty he experienced.  He would listen to white people talk about their moral and intellectual superiority; however, their behavior was a far cry from what they claimed to be.

He also talked about the people involved in the civil rights movement.  He encountered a group of white people actively working with the black community to improve conditions.  They were being targeted by their own race and viewed as race traitors.  However, they believed everyone should be treated with dignity and respect.  They continued fighting for equality in spite of the persecution.

The book is moving and well written.  You can easily picture the surroundings, the people, and the situations.  You can feel what the author was feeling.  This truly is a book worth reading.

 

Confessions of a White American

A few years ago, I was curious about my ancestry and I had my DNA tested.  The results, I am:

  • 43% Northern European
  • 36% Mediterranean
  • 19% Southwest Asian
  • 2% East African

If you ever meet me, you will notice the European characteristics are dominate.  My skin is white, but I am not fair skinned.  My eyes are blue.  My hair was blond until I was six or seven years old, then it started to turn brown.

In America, race has always been a hot button issue and it is at the heart of a lot of conflict among our citizens.  Now that I know about my heritage, I am more interested in the conflict and have a greater desire to improve the situation.

Here are my confessions as a white American.

I know some of my ancestors were racist and some were criminals.  I know they fought against civil rights and they joined the Confederate Army.

I am not proud of what they did, but I don’t feel guilty about it.  These things happened before I was even born.  I am not responsible for their actions, and I am nothing like them.

I wish I could talk openly to people from various minority groups.  I would love to ask questions and hear what they have to say about the American culture and race relations.  However, I am afraid my questions my sound offensive and that is not my intent at all.

I want to talk to someone old enough to remember the civil rights movements in the 1960’s and 1970’s, to see what they believe has improved and has not improved.  To hear what they think should be done today.

I want to talk to young people that are a part of minority groups.  I wonder what discrimination they have endured.  I am sure there are things happening in our society that I never noticed, because I am white and it has not effected me personally.  However, those things would effect someone that is not white and they would be very aware of the situation.

I teach my niece to never judge people based on things like skin color, race, religion, or ethnic origin.  Instead, you should look at their actions and their character.  That will tell you what you need to know about the person.

Is telling her that enough?  Is there more that I should tell her?

I have no control over my skin color or my ancestors.  I don’t want to be judged by those things and I don’t want to be the kind of person that judges others by such things.

I understand there are things that I will never experience as a white American that other races will be forced to endure.

I also don’t want to offend anyone or be insensitive.  I just want to learn more about the issues and feel free to ask questions.  I know I will never understand it the same way as someone who lives it, but I want to try.  I want to be better than my ancestors and I want to teach my niece to be better than our ancestors.

 

 

 

 

Homosexuality vs Gluttony

A lot of Christians believe homosexuality is a sin.  Some of those Christians use offensive signs to protest against the evil gays.  Some Christians refuse to serve gay individuals in their establishment.  Some Christians fight to create laws that prevent gays from having the same civil liberties and freedoms as other Americans.

Gluttony is also a sin.  According to the Bible, gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins and should not be taken lightly.  However, how the average Christian responds to this sin is wildly different from how they respond to homosexuality.

Gluttony is not viewed as being a big deal.  There are all-you-can-eat buffets in every city in America, but nobody is protesting in front of those restaurants.  There are food eating contest, in which the person who eats the most food in a certain time frame wins prizes.  There is no outcry against these events.  Gluttony is even a part of our holidays and parties.

Why is one sin stigmatized and another sin celebrated?

Historic Building Used for Storage

Prior to the desegregation of the Alabama school system, this building was one of the schools for African-American children.  Students from multiple counties would travel to this school, since there only a few available in North Alabama.

Researching the history of this school and the building was not easy.  There is very little information about it on the internet and most of what I learned came from the local people.

The building is now being used as a storage facility and is not being maintained well.

That seems like such a waste to me.  Here we have a building with great historical significance, just wasting away in obscurity.

If I could purchase the property, I would turn it into a civil rights museum.  That seems to be a better way of honoring the history of this site.