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The Drake

How was Houston back then, with all the discrimination and stuff?

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I was wondering this the other day. On my way from work I noticed a lady and her son waiting on the bus and thought "Damn, were kids really like this?" This was in no way related to race but it one thought led to another and...

 

 

Yeah.

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I'm white, grew up on Houston's southwest side - Meyerland/Bellaire/Sharpstown area - and graduated from an HISD high school in 1966. Brown v Board was in 1954. No black students went to any of my schools, no black people lived anywhere on my side of town, the only black people I interacted with were domestic help and grocery sackers. Everybody else in my 1st 16 or 17 years was white except for a handful of Mexican Americans who were at least 3rd generation so no different than me.

 

The segregation was pretty ironclad, but overt desegregation came relatively peacefully in Hou compared to most places. Doesn't seem like the discrimination ever went away, just modified.

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I lived in Southeast Houston and went to Milby High School, graduated in 1968. At that time there were maybe 2 or 3 black people in the school. Of course, there were many Hispanics at Milby at the time and I had quite a few Hispanic friends, but as far as blacks, very few acquaintances.

 

I am old enough to remember going to grocery stores where there were drinking fountains specifically for "Negroes". Me and my brother would sneak a drink to see if the water was any different, it wasn't, but the fountain itself was shoddier.

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I grew up near where Madison High is now, and moved to Willow Meadows in 66 and Graduated Bellaire in 1973.  Pamela Heights was solid white when we moved there in 1961, around 1965 I remember the first black child moving into the neighborhood. I do remember parents' in the neighborhood being concerned about home values, and some of the native born Texas parents used the N-word, the polite ones said "colored." I only have a memory of "whites only" bathroom at my doctor's building I believe in the Medical Center. We had a black cleaning woman who came on tuesdays and was probably the only black person I had regular contact with. Reading over old Bellaire school papers, I noticed we had 2500 students, about 40 were non white.

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Here is just one of the really "counter-intuitive" things about the segregation era many people today find hard to believe.  Before court-ordered desegregation of schools and almost every other aspect of our lives, whites and blacks lived in their own socially and geographically separate communities.

 

In those times, there were more black-owned businesses, black unemployment and crime rates were very low, and the graduation rate in their separate but equal high schools was about equal to the rate in the white schools. Sociologists say it was because black kids were born into and grew up in a community that expected them to stay in school, graduate, find a job and make something of themselves.

 

It's not that way today. There is no black "community". The black school dropout rate is astronomical, black unemployment, black on black crime rates are astronomical, and three out of every four black babies are born out of wedlock. And the list goes on and on. American blacks have become the victims in the War on Poverty.

 

So much for the social paradise that integration was supposed to bring to pass.

 

 

Edited by FilioScotia
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thanks for posting this. this was the best laugh i've had in a long while. I'm emailing this to my mom and see what her response will be. I'm sure the thread will be closed.

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it is rare to see a defense of "separate, but equal" and even more rare to see a positive analysis of the Jim Crow era, at least in polite company. congrats on the bifecta.

Edited by IHB2

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I wasn't defending "separate but equal", but it wasn't all bad. In perfect 20-20 hindsight, we can now see that It had the effect of upholding cohesion in the black community in ways that today's schools seem unable to do.

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I wasn't defending "separate but equal", but it wasn't all bad. In perfect 20-20 hindsight, we can now see that It had the effect of upholding cohesion in the black community in ways that today's schools seem unable to do.

 

At first I thought you were joking, but umm... huh. I can't tell now if you're being serious or trolling.

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May not be a popular or PC view, but I've heard the same comment from several older black people who lived in segregated times.  I've not heard them say they want to return to segregation, or Jim Crow laws, or the explicit and violent racism that was common in those days...but they've commented on how many black people were better off financially in those times. 

 

My guess is that those who had money before integration (doctors, lawyers, bankers) were the ones who ended up worse off.  Poor blacks didn't get any better or worse...but they could (and did) go to white doctors, lawyers, bankers, and shopping centers for the first time.  The result was a drop in business for black business owners. 

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I think it's good for people to share memories of the past in Houston, so I hope this thread won't be shut down because some people want to be childish or hateful.

 

I do have one memory that I want to share, which is of going to the downtown library (now the Julia Ideson Bldg.) and seeing 2 water fountains.  On the shorter one, the plastic (I guess) handle had the word "colored" etched into it.  I remember asking my mom why it said that, but I don't recall what she said.  In any case, I drank out of that one because it was easier for me to reach, being a little kid.  No one ever complained that I did it, so I drank from it every time we went there.

 

Walter Cronkite was a kid in Houston in an era much earlier than me.  I read a bit of his autobiography once that included things he saw while a kid here.  I don't recall details, but my recollection is that he saw things that seem a lot more shocking than separate water fountains.  Houston has certainly had a lot of gratuitously negative things written about it over the years, but, I think that if we react by turning a deaf ear to everything,  we won't be listening when we hear the truth.

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I was wondering this the other day. On my way from work I noticed a lady and her son waiting on the bus and thought "Damn, were kids really like this?" This was in no way related to race but it one thought led to another and...

 

 

Yeah.

 

What does this even mean?

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What does this even mean?

 

My thoughts were like "Wow, I don't think children change much. They're curious from the start!" and I wonder "Gee, I wonder if this neighborhood was the same"

 

 

 

Like I said, one thought led to another and that's how it went. There's no "deeper" meaning.

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Here is just one of the really "counter-intuitive" things about the segregation era many people today find hard to believe.  Before court-ordered desegregation of schools and almost every other aspect of our lives, whites and blacks lived in their own socially and geographically separate communities.

 

In those times, there were more black-owned businesses, black unemployment and crime rates were very low, and the graduation rate in their separate but equal high schools was about equal to the rate in the white schools. Sociologists say it was because black kids were born into and grew up in a community that expected them to stay in school, graduate, find a job and make something of themselves.

 

It's not that way today. There is no black "community". The black school dropout rate is astronomical, black unemployment, black on black crime rates are astronomical, and three out of every four black babies are born out of wedlock. And the list goes on and on. American blacks have become the victims in the War on Poverty.

 

So much for the social paradise that integration was supposed to bring to pass.

 

There are still black communities - Third ward, Sunnyside, South Side Chicago.

 

Please can you speak to the quality of education that black kids received before desegregation?

 

And I posit that the frightening but true statistics of black population have little to do with desegregation.

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There are still black communities - Third ward, Sunnyside, South Side Chicago.

 

Please can you speak to the quality of education that black kids received before desegregation?

 

And I posit that the frightening but true statistics of black population have little to do with desegregation.

 

The quality of segregated education for school age members of the segregated caste may be "good" or not relative to the rest of the non-segregated population, but it doesn't matter if the caste is prevented by cradle to grave segregation from full participation in the economic life of the nation. And I do believe that African Americans comprise a caste, and that our caste system has operated in ways similar to caste systems in other societies.

 

The Warren Court asserted in Brown v Board that separate can never be equal in access to public educational resources, but that finding hardly encompassed the totality of the exclusion of blacks from the social and economics benefits of 1st class US citizenship.

 

Your belief that the "frightening" statistics regarding the present African American population have little to do with desegregation seems wrong to me b/c I think the effects of almost 100 years of legal segregation, and of the de facto segregation that has an even longer timeline and continues to exist in certain forms today, remain woven into all facets of US society. All of those threads eventually will unravel, but we're going to need a few more generations for that to happen IMO.

 

In that sense, I consider desegregation to be a process, not something that was accomplished by legal rulings 50-60 years ago & govt. policies since, and that process is far from complete.

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In that sense, I consider desegregation to be a process, not something that was accomplished by legal rulings 50-60 years ago & govt. policies since, and that process is far from complete.

 

Laws were changed and such, but as you mentioned that was just another step in the process that we are all taking.

 

I fear that our lifetimes won't show the wounds completely healed from segregated society.

 

I grew up in a vastly different culture than a lot of the members posting on this thread. To me, segregation was a word we learned in school and a policy that one stubborn nation half a world away still followed.

 

Back when I was growing up Houston had other intolerance to fight, mainly I recall that it seemed like a weekly news story of people being bloodied in Montrose because of who they were.

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