Diane Smith, Anchorage, AK. I was the only white girl in my 6th grade class at Windsor Hills Elementary School in Los Angeles. I wished so much that I looked like my classmates. My greatest compliment back then (the 1960s) was that I might be white on the outside, but I was black on the […]
Jim Michonski, Virginia Beach, VA. I grew up in a military family. The March on Washington happened when I was two years old. We mostly lived outside of the US until I was nine. I don’t have memories of and was not exposed to the racial turmoil of the 1960’s. One of the strongest experiences […]
Joe Fournelle, Stuarts Draft, VA. Spring 1969. I was a 20-year-old Marine at the Greyhound bus station in Beaufort, SC waiting for transportation to Cherry Point, NC via commercial bus. An “old” (older than me anyway) black man approached me and asked me to find out when the next bus bus for Lobeco was. I […]
Jeanette Ju-Pierre, Westminster, England.
Patricia L. Gadsden, Central, PA. As an African American female in the 1960’s, I was discouraged from attending college. It was explained to me that I wasn’t college material. I’m not sure what they really meant since I graduated with straight A’s from high school.
Sharon Neumane, Mehoopany, PA. Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s I truly believed that we had moved beyond racial conflicts. My greatest heroes, my most beloved singers and song writers, actors, activists and poets are people who’s skin is a different color than mine. I have never in my life filled out a race […]
Michael Vines, New York, NY. Just want to make sure that you understand “the girl” was how many people in the 50-60’s referred to their maid.
Judith McConkie, Salt Lake City, UT. The sentence describes our family’s conflicted past. As liberal Democrats in the 1970s my husband and I considered the ban on blacks holding Mormon priesthood to be ridiculous and insidious — a reason to leave the faith. We held on and held out faith that things would change, slowly […]
Kristen, Two Rivers, AK. Grew up in the 60s in south Georgia. As a child, I didn’t know there were differences. I didn’t know to discriminate. They tried to teach me, but I don’t think I ever really learned.
Michael l Koetje, Vashon, WA. I grew up in a sheltered deeply religious community. Just white folks. When an older friend went away to college and brought a black guy home in the Mid-60’s, those were my Father’s words about the children they might have. I said America needs to be ready. I believed what […]
MK, Baltimore, MD. A few moments in my “coming into adulthood” stand out as I am navigating the world of race. I remember probably 10 years back now that in conversation with my mother-in-law in a less-than-intellectual blue collar town her speaking of how racism towards white people was apparent in the area. She noted […]
Linda D. Calvin, Westfield, IN. I am one of five siblings, but I am the only one who is black. My brothers and sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, great nieces, uncles and aunts are white. After three children and a divorce, my mother met and married a black man in the 60s and had me. I […]
Sara Przybylski Stevens Point, WI People think this is a great place to live, work, and raise kids… and it is. Just under the surface, though, there’s a little more going on. I grew up here. I saw my first African American person at the grocery store at the age of four-ish and loudly complimented […]
Chris G Murray New York City, NY Manhattan As an activist in the 60’s/70’s and having had our share of victories, I continue the fight for liberty, freedom and doing what is morally right. All people must live together and combine their strengths to fight against the multi-national corporations
Dan Kelly San Francisco, CA I was in a Brooklyn HS in the early 60s and the images coming from the south inspired me to question the social conventions that supported segregation, From that it was a short jump to questioning forteign policies that justified invading 3rd world countries. College seemed irrelevant and I left […]
Ellison Weist Portland, OR I grew up in the Deep South, the white child of parents who championed Civil Rights in the 1960s. Yet it’s this story from my elderly Portland, OR neighbor that speaks volumes to me about race and forgiveness.
Daniel Cohen Stroudsburg, PA I am so grateful that you have this exhibit. The sixties and the political movements of that time were so exciting to be part of. We could sure use that passion and commitment today. In spite of King, would anything have happened without blood? Is that what it will take today?
Noah Johnson Wicomico Church, VA While sitting around the dinner table with my mom and grandparents, we began to talk about the Race Card Project, which led into many interesting conversations, one regarding the evolution of racial slurs. We talked first about the racial slurs that I am familiar with as a teenager, and then […]
Mjrosen New York City, NY
Rosie W. Tucson, AZ When I was in the third grade in the sixties, my best friend and neighbor was Joyce, who was Japanese. She was wonderful. When my mother found out, she let me know, albeit gently and with compassion, that my father would be terribly hurt by my friendship because he had fought […]
Blue Hamilton Spruce Pine, NC Having grown up poor and white in the deep south in the 1960’s, it was common to hear racial slurs whispered among my white classmates, but never directed in anger at my black or brown friends. Before segregation we all went to the same local school; rich, poor, black, brown […]
Sid Makeba Raleigh, NC I was so proud in the fall of 1960 to join and wear the uniform of The United States Air Force. What a rude awaking I got in San Antonio Texas when Puerto Rican buddy and I tried to go to the movies. The cashier lady told us we had to […]
Mary Thompson Happy Valley, OR I heard this from first and second grade teachers. White women. I was proud to be Native American, but in their “kindness” they let me know I was not okay. Was the 1960’s.
Lisa Freund Taylor Laclede, MO In reality, she was our caregiver. Raising a white womans children in southeast Texas in the 60’s. Divorce broke up our family and she just disappeared.
Margaret Sullivan Decorah, IA In high school in the 60s my friend was told that she “knew too many white people” and that if she didn’t drop us her boyfriend would get the crap beaten out of him. To this day I’m not sure why her boyfriend was to be the victim.
Ty Cooper Arlington, VA I was born (1950) into a family of sharecroppers in eastern NC. We lived one mile from the nearest road. I was starting school soon, so my mom paid a friend to take us to town to get my preschool health check. Sitting in the waiting room, I noticed people walking […]
Robin Bass Brooklyn, NY I’m glad for the progress made…but frustrated that we still have so far to go
Mary Horton Richmond, VA I didn’t realize until shortly before her death how different the world my mother gave me was from the one she was raised in. My mother had Alzheimer’s, and in the last few years of her life, she reverted to some of the attitudes and behaviors she had learned while growing […]
Gordon McAlister Waconia, MN It’s the 60’s I’m white seventeen and a member of the NAACP It means I’m cool, enlightened, support the cause, and maybe most important not like them For Medger Evers it means you’re dead
Alice J Walker Gay, GA This concerns a story told to me about my grandmother, who died in 1960 when I was five years old. In the mid-fifties, she lived with my aunt and uncle and their boys in Rome, Georgia. On one rare occasion, she was home alone when Carrie May, the housekeeper came […]
Anne Lincoln, MA I was asked by Admissions if I would agree to having a black roommate. I said yes, but when she learned of the request (I never knew how), she was angry–at the school, and confusing to me, at me. From that moment on, there was only anger. I was naive and woefully […]
Dennis Jack Higgs Saint Peters, MO I was raised in West Texas in the 50’s and 60’s. Although racism was rampant around us, we were not raised to be racist. I am now in my mid sixties and still to this day, one incident, when I was about six or seven years old, that lasted […]
Cynthia Flynn Bryn Mawr, PA This was mostly not true where I grew up in inner city Seattle, but when I went to the South in 1968, that was my universal experience of African-Americans. It still happens today, even in professional settings.
Irene M. Pepperberg, Swampscott, MA. I was in high school, a racially integrated one, in the 60s, discussing racial issues with a contemporary black woman, an honors student, headed for a fine college. I asked her why she was so angry, what kind of discrimination she felt, living in a middle class community, going to […]
Ginny Adams North Platte, NE I learned this from my parents while growing up in Detroit; 60* years later I still find myself struggling not to react this way.
Tamie Odom Sherman, TX I was only five at the time. Me and my 2 sisters were going to an all black school in Newburg, NY. The race riots were happening and lots of tension was in the city. Black kids hated me because I was white. I had no idea what I had done […]
Bonnie Empire, MI Grew up in Dearborn under the very watchful eye of Mayor Hubbard. Watched in horror at the treatment of the ONE black family that had the NERVE to move into town while I was a pre-teen. It was a surreal time and place.
Roderick Bateman Ottawa, Canada In the 1960’s all and only white countries opened their borders to massive non-white immigration. Then governments and media demanded we “mix together.” Now those same governments and medias are calculating that by the year 2040, there won’t be a single white majority nation left on the planet, and that this […]