In the 1950s, race relations in Sabine County were a lot different than today. We had separate water fountains and rest rooms at the County Courthouse. We had different schools for whites and coloreds. Most white kids of my age had very little contact with black people. We were fortunate to have a black lady who came to our home and helped with house work a few days a week. Her name was Irona, and in our house, she was treated with respect. I was quite young, at the time, and she gave me the gift of seeing her as a person. Without her presence in our home, I might not have overcome the almost universal prejudice that existed then until a lot later in life.
My years in the military were enlightening, as I met and became friends with black soldiers. Though we mostly liked different music and different styles, we had the same dreams and aspirations, and I came to understand that the only color in the Army is green. Things didn’t progress as rapidly back home in Sabine County, but gradually, over the years, relations improved. Today, the overt signs are gone, and I believe most folks are accepting of all our citizens of whatever race or color.
I don’t know how much, if any, effect the Democrats’ campaign, led by Barack Obama, to foment racial hatred, has had here, but nation wide, they have done immense harm to race relations in the US.
I have mixed race children, a mixed race grandchild, and my wife of 41 years, is mixed race. I like to believe I have overcome the early prejudice of my boyhood, but I also understand how difficult it can be to overcome. I’m proud of my family and the people of Sabine County for accepting those who are different, even though the differences are unimportant.