What was it like back then in the dystopia that was segregation?
The following excerpt on the early 20th century South comes from Richard Worsmer’s book The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow:
“As punitive and prejudicial as Jim Crow laws were in the North, they never reached the intensity of oppression and degree of violence and sadism that they did in the South. A black person could not swim in the same pool, sit in the same public park, bowl, play pool or, in some states, checkers, drink from the same water fountain or use the same bathroom, marry, be treated in the same hospital, use the same schoolbooks, play baseball with, ride in the same taxicab, sit in the same section of a bus or train, be admitted to any private or public institution, teach in the same school, read in the same library, attend the same theater, or sit in the same area with a white person. Blacks had to address white people as Mr., Mrs., or “Mizz,” “Boss,” or “Captain” while they, in turn, were called by their first name, or by terms used to indicate social inferiority — “boy,” “aunty,” or uncle.” Black people, if allowed in a store patronized by whites, had to wait until all white customers were served first. If they attended a movie, they had to sit in the balcony; if they went to a circus, they had to buy tickets at a separate window and sit in a separate section. They had to give way to whites on a sidewalk, remove their hats as a sign of respect when encountering whites, and enter a white person’s house by the back door.”
It was hell on earth.
Rod Dreher has this take on segregation:
“Now, nobody can doubt that school segregation was unjust, and that black schools received far fewer resources than white schools. “Separate but equal” was not only immoral, it was a lie. Segregation had to end. …”
I don’t even have to tell you how much progress we have made since the integration of public transportation, public housing, public restrooms, public parks, public swimming pools, private hotels and restaurants and especially the public schools since the 1950s and 1960s.