Monday, August 25, 2014

Alta Cooke Broke Through in Education


The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s had ended before a black woman first became principal of a  high school in Long Beach.



Alta Cooke, Breaking Through Lighting the Way
Alta Cooke Posed for Article
in the Press-Telegram, Long Beach

Alta Cooke, first black female high school principal in Long Beach, was an influence on many young lives in that city. No black woman had been promoted to the position until 1987.




For this project, the women were asked to select pictures from their personal albums to include in the book. In a Press Telegram (Long Beach) newspaper article, Alta Cooke chooses pictures from her family album.

in looking through her private collections, Cooke re-discovered a little-known part of her career--law enforcement and recently renewed an old partnership between the Long Beach Unified School District and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Teenage Alta Cooke
Teenage Alta Cooke
In viewing these historic photo album pictures Carolyn Smith Watts and Sunny Nash discovered a treasure of not only memories, but historical accounts that exist nowhere else. Carefully collected and stored, mostly for their children and families, women like Alta Cooke have meticulously documented a segment of Long Beach experience, previously unknown outside these privately preserved archives, images that will be included in the exhibition to augment and complete the story of their journeys and their city's.


Featuring women like Alta Cooke in BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way will help to expose the community to their stories and contributions to race relations in America.



Alta Cooke, College Graduate
Alta Cooke, College Graduate
"Women who want to be successful in today's world should listen to what their mothers, fathers, grandparents and mentors have to say about life," Cooke said. "Apply these lessons to what you want to do for yourself and then go out and do it. Accept professional challenges. Be prepared for life. Remember, there are going to be many challenges."

Born and raised in Long Beach, California, Alta Cooke went off to New York for two years and studied music in Potsdam, New York. "I went there for two years and had a wonderful music experience," Cooke said. "[But] it was too cold there for me, so I came back to California and enrolled at the University of Redlands."


After graduating from the University of Redlands, Cooke earned a Master of Science in Music Education at the University of Southern California. 




BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way Edited by Sunny Nash
BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way

Profiles of African American
Women who made a difference
to the history of Long Beach, 
California


Edited by Sunny Nash
Foreword by Carolyn Smith Watts

Bobbie SmithAlta Cooke, Carrie Bryant
Dale Clinton & Lillie Mae Wesley (not present) 


In preparing BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way, the Carolyn Smith Watts and Sunny Nash team learned that people of color all over the nation, including Southern California, have felt or, at least, have seen the effects of race at some time in their lives throughout American history.

Examples of racial awareness can come at work, home, school, church, public facilities and any place people of different ethnicity may be in the same places at the same times. 


Many times, today, people are not even aware of their biases. They simply gravitate toward people who are more like them. If BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way does nothing else, it will make people aware of the other person and may help people better understand what others have gone through in the past and why they are still sensitive to racial slights in the present.


In Early America, the pre-Civil War era, Reconstruction and the Jim Crow days, the inability of the United States to take any meaningful steps in race relations was due to the Jim Crow system in place for more than 100 years, a system that was designed to curtail the advances freed slaves had won after the Civil War. The Jim Crow system ballooned during Reconstruction, with particularly harmful consequences. In cases of black men, the fear of lynching loomed; in the cases of black women, the fear of rape before being lynching loomed.

The Jim Crow system stymied any attempt at race relations by committed black and white citizens in a nation, still reeling from the effects of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Nearly a century and a half later, the emotions of younger generations are still tainted by Jim Crow. When a person of color feels a sting of racial discourtesy with poor service in a restaurant, is it such a surprise given our history? On the other hand, what about the person too young to remember Jim Crow? Should he or she be blamed for the past racial climate in our nation simply based on the color of his or her skin? Remember, a coin has two sides. BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way explores both sides.


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Breaking Through Lighting the Way

Evelyn Knight Remembers Jim Crow Signs


African American Women Fleeing Jim Crow South Sought Refuge in Long Beach, California.



Evelyn Knight, one woman in the study, BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way
Evelyn Knight
Born: Africa Town, Alabama
Evelyn Knight, one Legend in the study, BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way, marched with Dr. Martin Luther King from Selma to Montgomery because she saw the national news coverage and could not be deterred by friends and family from the significant stance against Jim Crow in Alabama where she had been born and raised. So, she took a leave from her job, packed a bag and boarded a bus headed for Alabama. 

Evelyn was born in African Town, Alabama. She is the descendant of a long line of protesters. Now, that is another story you will be fascinated to learn. And you can learn her story directly from her when the BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way Exhibition has its Grand Opening on September 29, 2015. Keep watch, here, for the details as the date approaches. 

"In 1965, I was looking at television one afternoon and I saw the brutality being heaped upon my people in my home state of Alabama. I knew what it was like because I had experienced the racism. Later, Martin Luther King pleaded for anyone around the country to come down and help to protest the dastardly acts in Alabama," Knight said, repeating King's words, "Please come and help us." And she was compelled to go and help.

Evelyn is back from the 50th anniversary Selma march. She went for the original march with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., after hearing his call to action. "Alabama is where I was born," she said. "I had to go then. And I had to go back!" Hats off the Evelyn, a living Long Beach Legend. 

Bloody Sunday Selma to Montgomery, Alabama
Bloody Sunday
Selma to Montgomery, Alabama
BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way will allow audiences of all ages and races to learn from these women and to experience through primary accounts what life in America was about in the days of Jim Crow, and the struggles of African Americans and, particularly, African American women. 

Evelyn Knight and many of the other women in the study, BREAKING THROUGH lighting the Way, upon their arrivals in Long Beach, had left behind them the signs that most dressed them.



Segregated Women's Restroom Sign  Deep South into the 1960s
Segregated Women's Restroom Sign 
Deep South into the 1960s
"The signs were not posted, but as a black person, you knew where you were not welcome," one black woman reported about her early experience in Long Beach into the 1960s. "The signs were on the faces of those around you or serving you in a restaurant."

But remember, white southern Jim Crow enthusiasts had also migrated to California during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl seeking opportunities a,d, regardless of their poverty, brought racism with them and perpetuated oppression of people of color. 


The Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 set up protections for certain populations against Jim Crow housing. 



Deep South Housing Restrictions, 1960s
Deep South Housing Restrictions, 1960s
Black women relate their own experiences with racial conditions in the Deep South states of their births and former southern homes, as well as Long Beach, where many fled in hopes of finding better racial treatment. In many instances, better conditions were to be found. However, there was racial strife even in Southern California, including lack of employment opportunities, segregated housing, deeded restrictions, inferior schools and other Jim Crow treatment. 

"There were no signs saying where you could go or where you couldn't go like in the south," one woman said. "But you learned pretty quickly how rental housing went. And then if you wanted to buy a house, your choices were limited to certain neighborhoods because of deed restrictions. White homeowners were legally restricted from selling their homes to buyers who were not white. It took an act of Congress to change all that, even in Long Beach" 

Segregated Laundry
"It was common to be ignored when others were being served," one woman said. "Some services were reserved for white customers when sometimes the services were being delivered by black workers. There were signs in some businesses saying your business is not welcome here or if there wasn't a sign saying you can't come in, the poor service made you not want to come back."

"It did not matter how well you dressed you were or how nice your shoes matched your suit," one woman said.



BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way

BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way
Edited by Sunny Nash
Foreword by Carolyn Smith Watts

Bobbie SmithAlta Cooke, Carrie Bryant
Dale Clinton & Lillie Mae Wesley (not present) 
"If you were colored, that's what they called us back then, you were not going to be considered for professional positions. No matter how smart you were or how much education you had back then, you would not be hired to sit in an office to greet the general public. And it took a long time for that to change."

Racism existed in Long Beach and Southern California.


Employment opportunities, college education and equal housing required changes in racial attitudes and these black women helped to bring about those changes in Long Beach. 

"For many years after laws were written," one woman said. "Employers had their ways of getting around them."






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~Thank You~


Breaking Through Lighting the Way
Breaking Through Lighting the Way

Friday, August 15, 2014

Aurtrilla Scott Made Changes in Jim Crow Southern California



The Late Autrilla Scott Long Beach Community Activist
The Late Autrilla Scott
Long Beach Community Activist
"If you thought racism only occurred in the American Deep South, you're wrong," said Autrilla Scott. "Racism still occurs where race matters enough to change the way people treat each other."



The late Autrilla Scott is one of twelve women profiled in BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way, a collection of historical accounts of the lives and experiences African American Long Beach women, who made a difference in the racial history of Long Beach and Southern California. Scott and the others profiled in this collection helped to change Jim Crow Southern California, the way Rosa Parks changed the Jim Crow South.

"You don't know what it's like," said Autrilla Scott. "Unless you've been there."


Autrilla Scott & President William Jefferson Clinton
Autrilla Scott & President
William Jefferson Clinton
The lives of these twelve civil rights era Long Beach black women are chronicled in a project that pays them tribute for their contributions to Southern California race relations. The book was edited by Sunny Nash. Carolyn Smith Watts, a Long Beach community activist and part of a new generation of black Long Beach women, wrote the Foreword. 


A Place Called Hope (Arkansas)


"This study is important to Long Beach, Southern California and the rest of the country," Watts said. "There have been many televisions programs and exhibitions for other areas of the Greater Los Angeles area, but few efforts have been concerned with black women in Long Beach. What an opportunity to study the lives of women like the late Autrilla Scott, who was the nanny for a two-year-old future President Bill Clinton."

Watts, an award-winning community activist and public servant, was a catalyst for the BREAKING THROUGH project in that she initiated the original photograph that inspired her collaboration with Sunny Nash for the book of historical profiles, film, public programs, appearances and, most currently, a traveling exhibition of portraits and historical photographs from the women's personal albums. "This is major for Long Beach," Watts said.

Autrilla Scott  High School Graduation
Autrilla Scott
High School Graduation
The BREAKING THROUGH project not only honors these 12 women but also explores race relations in America and Southern California, strained during the migration of black females coming from the segregated South during World War II primarily for employment. Long Beach was more progressive than towns in Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama and other parts of the Jim Crow South where some of the 12 black women were born and raised. However, employment, education and housing required racial change these black women helped to make in Long Beach. Many of these women modeled their lives and activities after Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

"We simply broke tradition by continuing to apply over and over again for jobs black women had never held in Long Beach," Scott said. "Long Beach, California, was not perfect, racially, but we did what we could to change Jim Crow. That's how we got them done in employment opportunities and neighborhood improvements."




Autrilla Scott, the only black woman in Long Beach 
With a street named in her honor


Photo source: Release (PRlog.org) accompanying:  Historical Profiles of Long Beach African American Women  by Sunny Nash & Carolyn Smith Watts
Photo source: Release (PRlog.org) accompanying:
 
Historical Profiles of Long Beach African American Women 
by Sunny Nash & Carolyn Smith Watts

LBReport.com\
Autrilla Scott, Long Beach Community Presence & Civil Rights Pioneer, Passes

The late Autrilla Scott and other women in BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way are accomplished in a variety of areas--Congressional Gold Medal, nanny to a future president, papers in the Library of Congress, activist who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other national, state and local achievements and honors in education, government, civil rights and others.  

In preparing BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way, Watts and Nash learned that people of colors all over the nation, including Southern California, have felt the effect of racial oppression at some time in their lives throughout American history. In the beginning, the inability of the United States to take any meaningful steps in race relations was due to the Jim Crow system in place for more than 100 years. The Jim Crow system stymied any attempt at race relations by committed black and white citizens in a nation that reeled from the effects of the Civil War and Reconstruction for nearly a century and continues to be tainted by the emotions of coming generations.



Cover Photo by Carolyn Smiths Watts, Shoreline Village, 
Published in Tuttle Cameras One Camera Project, Exhibited at the Historical Society of Long Beach. 
(Standing left to right): Evelyn Knight marched with Martin Luther King from Selma to Montgomery; Patricia Lofland, first black member of Long Beach City College Board of Trustees; Bobbie Smith, first black LB woman elected to public office and has a school named for her; Alta Cooke, first black high school principal; Carrie Bryant, city’s first black private school operator; Vera Mulkey, the City’s first black Chief of Staff; Wilma Powell, the nation’s first female Chief Wharfinger; Doris Topsy-Elvord, first African American Long Beach Harbor Commissioner & first black female LB Vice Mayor; (Seated left to right): Autrilla Scott, city’s first black LB citizen with street named for her; Maycie Herrington, recipient of a Congressional Gold Medal; Dale Clinton’s letter to President Johnson is archived at the Library of Congress; and (not present): Lillie Mae Wesley, neighborhood parent for 30 years with LB Parks & Recreation.

Grand Opening
Long Beach Public Library
(101 Pacific Ave.)
3:00 p.m. Tuesday, September 29, 2015, 
Atrium Center & Theater, 
2:00 p.m. Press Conference
Loraine & Earl Burns Miller Special Collections Room
2:00 p.m. Reception 
Atrium Garden

The multifaceted signature project, BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way Exhibition, is comprised of archival portraiture, ancestral photographic restorations, artifacts, historic papers, archaic document reproductions, memorabilia, and newspaper and magazine clippings collected, organized by award-winning humanitarian Carolyn Smith Watts, and award-winning author and photojournalist Sunny Nash, on 12 African American Women who made a Difference in the Cultural History of Long Beach, California.



FISCAL SPONSOR











SIGNATURE SPONSORS
The Port of Long Beach demonstrated its commitment to equal employment access and professional opportunity over the years by appointing the first female Chief Wharfinger in the nation, one of the Legends of this project; and continues that commitment with its support of this project.


Sponsors, donors, partners and contributors committed to date are listed here. Others will be joining the list in the near future. All are welcome to LIKE the Legends on FaceBook.





In 2015, after Nash won a 2015 Arts Council for Long Beach Professional Artist Fellowship to design a Museum Catalogue and restore photographs, BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way became a Signature Project of photo restorations, artifacts, document reproductions, ancestral papers and online resources.

Molina Healthcare








For more than 30 years, Molina has been providing quality, affordable health care to individuals and families covered by government programs. 










DONORS



Andy Street 
Community Association

BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way Exhibition previewed at the Andy Street Community Association's Bixby Knolls EXPO Event in February. Hundreds of spectators were able to get a glimpse of the coming exhibition, scheduled to open in September. 

At the June 5th First Friday Event in Bixby Knolls, there will be an exhibit preview at the Historical Society of Long Beach featuring 230 collective years of educational accomplishments of the 12 Legends of BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way.

Tuttle Cameras Long Beach
Based on the collection of historical profiles, published in 2007, edited by Sunny Nash, and foreword by Carolyn Smith Wattswhose award-winning photograph of the Long Beach Living Legends was published in the Tuttle Cameras book, One Camera Long Beach.




Chick-fil-A Towne Center, Long Beach

John Howard of the Chick-fil-A Towne Center Long Beach was present that crisp sunny day in September at the Shoreline Village photo session when the historic picture of the Legends was taken.




International Realty & Investments



The project also includes oral history, new photo/video capture and recently discovered images and artifacts that will also be included in a series of television programs on LBTV, the Television Station owned and operated by the City of Long Beach.







PARTNERS


City of Long Beach



Long Beach dignitaries will attend and participate in The Grand Opening. Southern California Media organizations will be invited to a Press Conference at 2:00 p.m. in the Loraine & Earl Burns Miller Special Collections Room of the Long Beach Public Library.













Long Beach Public Library, Main Branch
The Long Beach Public Library will host the event in its Atrium Center & Theater off of City Hall Public Plaza, 101 Pacific Ave., Long Beach, California. There will a VIP Reception in the Atrium Garden prior to the program and the screening of a film and online resources.



  


Long Beach City College
Long Beach Unified 
School District

Long Beach City College (LBCC) and Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) will play equally significant roles in as education partners in advertising the event to their respective constituents. Both have student bodies and faculty to which they will provide electronic announcements on their Internet and broadcast communication systems. Both LBCC and LBUSD can lay claim to several Legends, who either taught, served as officials or attended both LBCC and LBUSD

Los Angeles County 
Sheriff's Department
Los Angeles Sheriff's Department in collaboration with the Long Beach Unified School District will participate in a mini-exhibit and event at Jordan High School, where student government officers will also be present to participate in a seminar involving one of the Legends who was an official of the school.

This event commemorates the historical relationship between Long Beach Unified School District and Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.






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© 2014 Sunny Nash. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.



Breaking Through Lighting the Way

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dale Clinton on a Rosa Parks Mission

New Exhibition Celebrating Long Beach, California, Black Women of the Civil Rights Era



Dale Clinton, community activist, wrote letter to President Johnson
Dale Clinton

One of the women in the BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way collection, is community activist, Dale Clinton.

Clinton wrote a letter to President Lyndon Johnson about poverty and racism in America. To her surprise, the president answered her letter. In 1968, both letters were collected by the Library of Congress.

Dale Clinton, born in Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1927, came to California in 1957, one year after Rosa Parks had launched the modern Civil Rights Movement in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Arriving with four small children, Clinton enrolled in Long Beach City College to prepare her for her journey into a professional career and participation in "the movement." Her husband followed shortly.

Later, she was recruited to work in the new Poverty Program. "In May or June," she said. "A grant was given to Long Beach." It was during this time that Clinton wrote a long letter to President Lyndon Johnson, more, she said, to organization her own thoughts on the matter than anything else. She did not think she would get an answer or that the president would even get a chance to read her letter. Well, it seems, the president did read her letter and he answered it. That correspondence is now in the Library of Congress, copies of which will be part of this new exhibit, an exhibit that demonstrates the historical existence of Jim Crow in the American West


Dale Clinton, Leadership Facilitator
Dale Clinton, Leadership Facilitator
"This project can serve as a model that can be duplicated in all communities," says Watts. "Sunny and I developed the project based on our experience. I am a community-oriented public service individual. with knowledge of Long Beach and Southern California residents. Sunny is a media person who has written and published books and produced for television. Together, we made an awesome team! And we learned from watching and hearing about those leaders who came before us."

"Carolyn and I divided responsibilities for this living history project along the lines of our interests and abilities," Nash said. "Carolyn is very connected in the community. She is able to coordinate logistics and host large social groups. Having served as president of Leadership Long Beach, Carolyn is a leader with influence."


Bobbie Smith and Dale Clinton Thomas R. Cordova / Staff Photographer Press Telegram
Bobbie Smith and Dale Clinton
Thomas R. Cordova / Staff Photographer
Press Telegram
Complete Story: 
Press Telegramn article by Nadra Nittle

Dale Clinton went with her friend, Bobbie Smith, also among the women in the study, to the LBUSD board meeting when the announcement was made of a school in Ling Beach being renamed in Smith's honor. 


Community organizer and civil rights activist, Dale Clinton's correspondence with President Lyndon Johnson on his "War on Poverty" has been collected by the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. and copies of these historical letters will be on display with the BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way Exhibition when it opens next Fall. Like the book and documentary film of the same name, the exhibition will cover a not so well known aspect of discrimination in Southern California.


Women Like Rosa Parks Who Defied Odds


BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way  (l-r, rear) Evelyn Knight, Patricia Lofland Bobbie Smith, Alta Cooke, Carrie Bryant Vera Mulkey, Wilma Powell, Doris Topsy-Elvord (seated l-r) Autrilla Scott, Maycie Herrington Dale Clinton & Lillie Mae Wesley (not present)


BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way

Edited by Sunny Nash
Foreword by Carolyn Smith Watts


Bobbie SmithAlta Cooke, Carrie Bryant
Dale Clinton & Lillie Mae Wesley (not present)


African American Long Beach women, profiled in the book, BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way, edited by Sunny Nash and foreword by Carolyn Smith Watts, will be the subject of a new exhibition. 



A new exhibition, under preparation by Sunny Nash and Carolyn Smith Watts is planned as a major traveling presentation of portraits, historic photographic reproductions, document replicas and artifacts, subsequently grew out of a collection of historical profiles about the lives and contributions of twelve African American women who made contributions to the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, as well as making a noteworthy difference in the history of Long Beach and Southern California.


Carolyn Smith Watts Long Beach Community Activist and Public Servant
Carolyn Smith Watts
Carolyn Smith Watts, who coordinated the project and wrote the Foreword, said, "I am blessed to have known most of these women and I have a wonderful relationship with many. These 12 women have contributed over six hundred years of experience to Long Beach. In the past fifty years, they have mothered hundreds children, some of whom were their own and others were neighborhood children who needed love and support. Yes, of course, there are other women in our city with thousands of stories and each one invaluable."


Julie Bartolotto, Executive Director of the Historical Society of Long Beach
Julie Bartolotto
Julie Bartolotto, Executive Director of the Historical Society of Long Beach and author of the Preface, has expressed a renewed interest in showcasing the new exhibition being prepared by Watts and Nash.

Bartolotto said, “Many women profiled in the book were part of that movement of people from the nation’s Deep South and Northeast to the West Coast. Their efforts made life better for their families and their community–and for current and future generations of Long Beach residents of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. These women broke through racial and gender barriers and persevered to open up opportunities for those who came after them in education, social service, civil rights, public service, shipping industries and community building.” 


Sunny Nash Author Photographer
Sunny Nash
"Although this initial project began in 2006," said Sunny Nash, "Long Beach still has an intense interest in the lives of its pioneer black female civil rights figures that so much resemble Rosa Parks in their character, mission and struggle for civil rights. Interest in this project has been expressed by individuals like television producer, Frank Draper, and Historical Society board member, Kaye Briegel. In addition to the Historical Society of Long Beach, where the original book was first released, several other local and regional repositories of historical materials, such as Rancho Los Cerritos, have expressed interest in this project. 

Book, documentary film and now an exhibition of this type will allow audiences of all ages and races to learn about the triumphs over racism led by these women and others of their time. Working with the Historical Society of Long Beach, Rancho Los Cerritos, NAACP, African American Heritage Society and other historical organizations and art exhibition institutions in the area, audiences will experience primary accounts of the lives of these women as Americans and their struggles as black women. This exposure will provide a better understanding of race relations in the United States fifty years after President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights at of 1964.



This project all began when Carolyn Smith Watts took a photograph of Long Beach women who have been influential in her life. The photograph was collected in a book published by Tuttle Cameras of Long Beach and displayed at the Historical Society of Long Beach. At the photo session, Sunny Nash took more photographs and filmed the event. And the project was born. The women in BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way, some born as early as 1918, do not have famous names and their contributions to race relations in America may have gone unnoticed had this book not been published.





Carolyn Smith Watts 
BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way Book Signing and Reception
Historical Society of Long Beach 2008



BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way came from a photograph by Carolyn Smith Watts, community activist and coordinator of the project. “I am blessed to have known most of these women and I have a wonderful relationship with many. These 12 women have contributed over six-hundred years of experience to Long Beach. In the past fifty years, they have mothered hundreds children, some of whom were their own and others were neighborhood children who needed love and support. Yes, of course, there are other women in our city with thousands of stories and each one invaluable."

While Carolyn Smith Watts took care of coordination matters, which were a massive undertaking, Sunny Nash developed the interview model, filmed the interviews and edited the manuscript and DVD. They collaborated with the Historical Society of Long Beach to secure credibility and a location to premier the book and DVD with signing and program. For details on how to start your project, please leave a comment at the bottom of the post.


In preparing BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way, the Watts and Nash team learned that people of colors all over the nation, including Southern California, have felt or, at least, have seen the effects of race at some time in their lives throughout American history. 

Examples of racial awareness can come at work, home, school, church, public facilities and any place people of different ethnicity may be in the same places at the same times. Many times, today, people are not even aware of their biases. They simply gravitate toward people who are more like them. If BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way does nothing else, it will make people aware of the other person and may help people better understand what others have gone through in the past and why they are still sensitive to racial slights in the present.

In Early America, the pre-Civil War era, Reconstruction and the Jim Crow days, the inability of the United States to take any meaningful steps in race relations was due to the Jim Crow system in place for more than 100 years, a system that was designed to curtail the advances freed slaves had won after the Civil War. The Jim Crow system ballooned during Reconstruction, with particularly harmful consequences. In cases of black men, the fear of lynching loomed; in the cases of black women, the fear of rape before being lynched loomed.

The Jim Crow system stymied any attempt at race relations by committed black and white citizens in a nation, still reeling from the effects of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Nearly a century and a half later, the emotions of younger generations are still tainted by Jim Crow. When a person of color feels a sting of racial discourtesy with poor service in a restaurant, is it such a surprise given our history? On the other hand, what about the person too young to remember Jim Crow? Should he or she be blamed for the past racial climate in our nation simply based on the color of his or her skin? Remember, a coin has two sides. BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way explores both sides.



ushistory.org homepage
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© 2014 BREAKING THROUGH  Lighting the Way. 
All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
 www.breakingthroughlighttheway.blogspot.com
~Thank You~


Breaking Through Lighting the Way