By Roy Douglas Malonson
“The legal battle against segregation is won, but the community battle goes on.”
– Dorothy Day
In this final piece dealing with the Truth About Integration, I want to address one of the most crucial elements within the Black culture that integration had the most impact on. The Black community as it was known prior to integration has never been the same. While WE gained the right to be able to function and co-mingle with our counterparts, it came with a cost.
We MUST Understand, everything our ancestors worked so hard to build, was destroyed when integration came. When integration came into effect many people do not realize that WE as Blacks just gave it (OUR hard work and sacrifice) away, to our counterparts.
We MUST Understand, when integration came in, it closed all of OUR schools. You see… OUR schools wasn’t good enough for White folks to attend and WE lost many them and many of their schools became OURS and they ended up leaving, once we got there.
During the times of segregation, Black folks were only allowed to be around Black folks, unless they were working for White folks. That was of course, about the only exception.
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 or other segments of the city, they faced the danger of being locked up or killed. I write these statements with no exaggeration either.
Back when I was coming up, there was no need to encourage Blacks to support Blacks because that was damn near the only people WE could support. WE didn’t have any choice but to support the local “mom and pop” stores because WE couldn’t go to nobody else’s stores. WE had no choice but to patronage OUR Black seamstresses, because wasn’t nobody going to sew clothes for Negroes. WE even had our own banks and I’m sure you can figure out why.
My point in stating all of this is because we just threw OUR Black communities into the path of destruction 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. I will conclude with the words of Ed Smith who said, “One of the prices that we pay for integration was the disintegration of the Black community.”
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