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Old times there are not forgotten.
February 28, 2002 8:33 PM   Subscribe

Old times there are not forgotten. From NPR: elderly white folks from Louisiana are asked to reminisce about life before the end of racial segregation. On the whole, they seem to have preferred it. Some insist that everyone was happier, and others simply claim that we should just move on. (Note that the last two links here are to brief Real Audio files.)
posted by BT (9 comments total)

 
It's well worth checking out the Library of Congress's bibliography of slave stories, which were collected during the depression years as part of a make-work project.

I believe Lay My Burden Down: A Folk History of Slavery was one that I read. Fascinating. Brutal. And well worth remembering.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:52 PM on February 28, 2002


Point being? Old southern white people liked the time of their youth when what they were exposed to was black people happy in their churches?

Before segregation they probably only saw white folks when they were doing there daily business (maybe once in a while a black person who was ever so kind to direct them to the produce aisle)? It seems to me that this would be filed under "duh".

This says a lot. Though I don't like how they cut it off at the guy saying "they knew their place". It seems like they are trying to put an obvious bias spin on the short clips when the man talking had some good points that he was going over (he seemed to basically say that blacks did not have it better off before segregation economically, but kind of ruined it with the last phrase).
posted by geoff. at 8:52 PM on February 28, 2002


Interesting Freudian slip in that last RealAudio.

I'm kind of torn on this question to tell you the truth. There's the obvious "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it" insights of course.
I remember that my own awakening to the evils of racism was realizing that all the black people who I had known and loved in my life were here because of an absolutely unforgivable practice and being absolutely enraged about it.
But at the same time I've heard plenty of old codgers of all races five lectures starting with " In my day..."

Sometimes these lectures contained pearls of wisdom, so I would usually keep listening. Other times they spewed such crap that I just wanted to say "Well, It ain't your day anymore, old-timer! Give it a rest!" Some graves should be left sealed.
I suppose it comes down to that old adage "Forgive and Forget."
Forgive, maybe. Forget, never. But letting the future be defined by the horrid events of the past would defeat the purpose of those who fought against them.
posted by jonmc at 8:54 PM on February 28, 2002


Oh, and all the links have different audio clips (mostly from blacks) which are really good to see compared to the white perspective. I encourage everyone to listen to those. That's what I was using to compare with the white sound clips in my above comment. I would have liked the interviewer to elaborate a little more on the questions for the whites with more direct questions like "What was the worse act of racism you saw", instead of dopey questions that get racist sounding remarks.
posted by geoff. at 9:03 PM on February 28, 2002


When I was a kid my grandparents lived near the railroad tracks in Pineville, Louisiana. I would to listen to the Gandy dancers working. I loved the working songs they did, my first encounter with what would become blues.
posted by bjgeiger at 9:36 PM on February 28, 2002


Useful to remember that for older folks, time gone always seem better than the present. You know: don';t make music the way they used; icecream doesn't taste the way it used to; kids today are.......etc etc
posted by Postroad at 5:40 AM on March 1, 2002


Although I lived "up nawth" after about the age of 5, both my parents are from the Missisippi Delta, raised during the 20's and 30's. I've heard a lot of stories and reminiscences about the old days.

My parents seem fairly typical of many others of their generation. Both my mom & dad had friendships and relationships with *individual* blacks - my Dad claims "we did everything except go to school together", my mom's family had a hired hand that was "like a father" to her.

These childhood relationships were accepted under the old order. But anything that threatened the status quo, actions that indicated any kind true equality were taboo.

They're in their 80's now, and these attitudes aren't going to completely change. A couple of years ago, my mom told me she had to stop watching her favorite soap opera because of "race-mixing". This kind of stuff used to make me crazy, but I see now that they're also victims.
posted by groundhog at 6:38 AM on March 1, 2002


"...but I see now that they're also victims."

That is very insightful. Thank-you. I need to think on that, in dealing with my own grandmother.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:42 AM on March 1, 2002


It seems like they are trying to put an obvious bias spin on the short clips

NPR? Biased? PSHAAAAWW!
posted by HTuttle at 10:49 AM on March 1, 2002


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