Not big on U.S. politics since I haven't lived there for awhile but I did get a glimpse of the Presidential inauguration today. Truly amazing to think it only took a civil war, Martin Luther King, and many other civil rights leaders to make a change after 150 years.
I remember those days in the late sixties. The city was on lock down. National Guardsmen covered the city in jeeps with machine guns on the back. They were stationed on top of buildings. We were walking home from the Country Club Plaza in front of what was then the IBM building. A car passed with some blacks in it. Like white on rice, military pulled them over and literally yanked them out of the car and gave them the shakedown. We were on-lookers and told to get out of there. I always wondered their fate that afternoon.
Kansas City always was and still is a city divided by color. The Avenue Paseo is still the DMZ between whites and blacks. You dare not cross the line especially at night. Funny to think, as a kid it was all around me. My dad worked for the USPS as an inspector. One Saturday he took me down to the office, a huge towering building for an eight year old. We walked into the lobby and in the same stroke my dad said hello to the guy who sold newspapers, cigs and candy, an older black man and also told me as I ran towards the water fountain, "better not use that one, go over there!". It never occured to me until I grew up what it was all about.
High school took me to a private Catholic school on The Paseo. First time I had ever had a black classmate and there were quite a few. A new experience that made me realize then that I was not unique and that we were all made equal.
Times haven't changed much though. Sure, the rights of an individual are more respected but the mentality of most humans hasn't caught up with the rights.
I'm not a pessimist but I don't think we will see another black president in my lifetime, and for many reasons. Let's hope my lifetime proves me wrong.