A Day that Was 50 Years In the Making

When I was growing up here in Franklin, segregation was the norm. There was a “colored” waiting room at the doctor’s office. There were separate elementary and high schools. Babysitters, maids and laborers were all black. Doctors and lawyers and teachers were all white. So was our little country club and I can remember the black children riding their bikes up and hanging around the fence until a lifeguard chased them off.

It wasn’t right or wrong to us. It just was.

Truthfully, if you had asked me back then if we’d ever have black president, I would’ve told you with all the sincerity that a 10 year old can muster that we wouldn’t. Of course, I would’ve said the same thing about a woman. I also would’ve told you that King Arthur was the greatest man ever and that if I didn’t get a pony for Christmas I would d-i-e die!

But today, in my 50th year, it’s all changed. We’re by no means perfect, but we have come a long, long way.

Because today my doctor is black and my cleaning lady is white.

Oh, and my president? He’s black too.

12 Comments

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12 responses to “A Day that Was 50 Years In the Making

  1. Wonderful post. I would have said the same thing as you when I was ten and living in the South. I’m so proud that our country has gotten past racial discrimination in such a remarkable way.

    I am less pleased about some of the ballot initiatives that passed which indicate that we still have a long way to go in terms of other types of discrimination.

  2. Julie Fisher

    Did you see those faces in that crowd in Chicago? Yes, there were black faces. But that sea of faces there. . . those were white faces. White faces that went in that booth and pulled a lever for a black person.
    I’m deeply proud, I’m overjoyed to be an American today.
    “They” have come a long way. So have I.

  3. Martha L.

    It’s hard to explain, isn’t it, that feeling of pride that a bright young black man can inspire such a feeling of hope and optimism for all Americans in such dismal conditions as this country is now experiencing?

  4. hereinfranklin

    CDV–high praise indeed. Thank you.
    Rassles–party on, dude.
    Julie and Martha–who would’ve ever thunk it?

  5. Older Sister

    Today would have been my wonderful father-in-law’s 95th birthday & as a man who worked with so many countrys and cultures, I just have a feeling he would have been so proud. An amazing time for our country.

  6. I thought the idea was to see beyond color, but I’ve read several ‘distinguishing’ comments in and under this post.

    CDV1971, for all of the continued ‘South bashing’ splashed across the papers and T.V. shows, I can assure you that discrimination and racism is not dead — ever been to Detroit?

  7. Amy

    Great post! While I did not agree with most of Obama’s politics, I was in awe of our country during the elections! I am still in awe that our country has a blck president. My father was a gov’t teacher. I remember asking my father, as we watched the evening news (Dan Rather, he always watched Dan) this was always the best time to ask “Daddy, do you think a girl could be president? My teacher said girls can be president; Chad Gray says that is stupid. Girls can’t be President.” He looked at me amused and sympathetic, then replied ” Sorry baby, this country will see a black man in that office before a woman.” As I watched the political events of this past year I thought, “Man, my dad is friggin brilliant, the man knows his stuff!!” And he does. We have a black president. Black children will be running and laughing through the halls, not as servants or lower class, but as the “first children”. I felt that morning Novemeber 5, this is what the country felt when Kennedy won, this is what they felt when Roosevelt was in office, with all those children playing throughout the House. Could this be the beginning of renewed hope for our country? If only our ancestors could see us now. Wow. Man really is created equal, we can start to not only believe it, but witness it. Wow. Just wanted to add my 2 cents.

  8. hereinfranklin

    Amy–thanks for reading and for such a thoughtful comment. You should have your own blog.

  9. Amy

    Aaaw, thanks. I don’t know about my own blog. I need good material to feed off-like yours.;-) So maybe I could do like a “wandering the blogs blog”? You are very kind!

  10. I just love this post. What a great perspective.

  11. hereinfranklin

    Bluestreak–many thanks. I enjoy following your Spanish story.

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