He wasn't the same man after St. Lawrence. He had seen life as it could be: life as it should be. He knew that he was worthy of fair treatment and respect. He knew that a society could exist in which the color of a person's skin was irrelevant. He had seen that society, walked its streets, and been invited into its homes.
When teams of Sailors came through St. Lawrence the next day to round up the survivors of the shipwreck, Lanier realized that he was going back to the same sort of treatment that he had left behind, in both the Navy and in his own country.
Two years after the sinking of the Truxton, he was transferred to Jacksonville, Florida. When his train arrived in Jacksonville, he searched the train station for a place where a black man could buy a meal. The usual 'Colored Only' signs seemed to be missing, so he asked a Military Policeman for directions. The MP didn't know, but he directed Lanier to a hall where German and Italian prisoners of war were eating lunch, and advised him to ask one of the guards.
As soon as Lanier stepped into the hall, he was seized by a Jacksonville Policeman, and shoved to the ground. The Policeman put a boot on Lanier's neck, and threatened to shoot him in the head for daring to set foot in a room where white men were eating. Lanier was in uniform at the time. While captured enemies were treated with dignity and respect, this American serviceman in the uniform of his country lay on the ground at gunpoint, enduring threats and racial insults. Lanier's only defense was to think back to St. Lawrence, and to remind himself that he deserved better.
He continued to do his job and to endure.
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