Why is the pool filled up?

rviersidepoolAlonzo Peeke,
Morris, MN.

When I was in 4th grade we moved from Overland Park, KS to Lynchburg, VA. My dad and I would shoot hoops and talk walks at Riverside Park, a beautiful forested park right off the James river. We were walking home and we came across a strange structure like ruined monument, old stone with grass growing over the side like it had overflowed somehow. We followed a sort of retaining wall but the wall had numbers along the edge like a pool. I asked dad, “why anyone would fill in a pool?”, dad didn’t know but said he’d ask around. I forgot about it until we passed by the pool again much later and I asked dad if he’d found out what had happened. In the summer of 1961, rather than allow black people to swim in the pools in Lynchburg with whites the city chose to drain all 3 and fill them with dirt. I remember standing on the wall looking down at the 9 ft. mark and the grass growing around it in silence, with my father. I suppose it was a monument after all.


Tweets by Michele Norris