By Roy Douglas Malonson
“One of the prices that we pay for integration was the disintegration of the Black community.”
– Ed Smith
In the root of destroying our neighborhoods and communities there were many elements involved. We MUST Understand everything our parents, our parents-parents and other ancestors worked so hard to build, was destroyed when integration came. When integration was placed into effect many people do not realize, we as Blacks just gave it (our hard work and sacrifices) away, to our counterparts.
Because when integration came in, it closed all of our schools in the neighborhoods down. You see… Our schools were not good enough for the White folks to go to school in and as such we lost many of our schools and many of their schools became ours and they ended up leaving, once we got there. Because rather it was legalized or not, they still didn’t want to be around us.
We MUST Understand, before integration Black folks were dependent on themselves and the Black community. We did not go out supporting and buying from other races, simply because we couldn’t. There was a time, if a Black person went into certain stores, segments of the city or otherwise they faced the danger of being locked up or killed.
I write these statements with no exaggeration either. Every week in some shape, fashion or form we are constantly, trying to persuade our readers to support Black-owned businesses. But, back when I was coming up, there was no need to encourage Blacks to support other Blacks because that was the only people we could support.
We didn’t have choice but to support the local “mom and pop” stores because we couldn’t go to nobody else stores. We had no choice but to patronage our Black seamstresses, because nobody else certainly was going to sew clothes for us. We had our own banks back then too and I’m sure you can figure out why.
My point in stating all of this is that we threw our Black communities into the path of others when integration came in. I guess many people were just so excited to finally be included amongst the majority that they forgot they were still the minority. As a result, our communities have suffered the cost and the loss.
Concluding, I would like to echo the words of Dorothy Day. She said, “The legal battle against segregation is won, but the community battle goes on.”
Photo credit: theroot.com