The racial world I grew up in and the one we live in today are amazingly different. Racism remains in many forms in America and around the world. But in the days of my youth the segregation was almost absolute and the defense of it was overt and ugly, without shame.
- In 1954, seventeen states required segregated public schools.
- In 1956, 85% of all white southerners rejected the statement, “White students and Negro students should go to the same schools;”
- 73% said that there should be “separate sections for Negros on streetcars and busses”
- 62% did not want a Negro “with the same income and education” as them to move into their neighborhood.
- In 1963, 82% of all white southerners opposed a federal law that would give “all persons, Negros well as white, the right to be served in public places such as hotels, restaurants, and similar establishments.”
- And in 1952 (when I was six years old), 20% southern blacks of voting age were registered to vote.
The upshot of those statistics was an unjust, unsafe, condescending, unwelcoming, demeaning, and humiliating world for blacks. Have you ever paused to ask yourself what separate water fountains and separate restrooms could possibly mean except: You are unclean — like lepers. It was an appalling world.
[Read the rest of the article at Desiring God.]