The beginning of the 1900s was a time of war and financial turmoil for the United States. There may have been peace before World War I, but there was little comfort in peace for many blacks. African Americans were no longer slaves, but were treated as sub-citizens. In some racist minds, they were even considered non-human. Twisted and insane religious beliefs viewed people of color as monkeys or ancestors of a cursed son of Noah.
Much of that kind of ignorant arrogance has been removed by education and interaction. Until World War II, not much changed. African Americans were allowed to join the military, but were assigned limited roles and separated from whites. Some made their way to show their patriotism and bravery and many, I am sure, were not mentioned.
My father was in Patton’s Third Army. His team was bogged down and out of gas and supplies. They were receiving heavy bombardment from the Germans. The Red Ball Express appeared and my dad called them Angels with Black Faces. They were the African American truckers. They delivered supplies under fire and left under fire. In fact, they were brave Americans.
Ignorance and hatred can be passed down from generation to generation. Love and tolerance can also be transmitted. My grandfather witnessed horrendous acts of racism when he was a teenager. He saw the bodies of innocent men hanging on the rafters of a lumberyard. My father witnessed the bravery of black soldiers fulfilling a dire need in battle. The murder was a heartbreak for those with true souls and a giggle for the souls of lies. How many beatings and hangings have been swept under the carpets of shame?
How long must it take before the latest racism story is just a page from an old book?