Friday, February 24, 2006

Forgot It Was BHM

That would be black history month. I'm trolling along this am, can't find anything to post about before I go to work and voila'.
Equal but Separate - Los Angeles Times: "
The older blacks at the 4 Way consider themselves admirers of the civil rights movement, but most still prefer eating in the former Jim Crow section.

They don't go up front, they say, because they simply feel more comfortable in the back. They mention that blacks have been sitting on those three stools as long as anyone can remember, trading gossip and cutting up.

'I just like it back here,' says Smith, a 77-year-old handyman. 'You see what fun we have.'

'It didn't ever bother me eating back here,' says Mack Sanders, 66. 'When [integration] passed I still didn't go up there. I still came back here. It's just something you get used to.'

From their spot near the six-burner stove, the old regulars can watch a younger generation of African Americans walk in the front door and get served with no hassles. But these days, treatment is just as good in the back.

On both sides of the restaurant, the 4 Way's chatty waitresses take custom orders for hog jowl, grits and homemade gravy. They ask after mutual acquaintances. They take care of their favorites: On a recent weekday, Smith was eating biscuits and salmon patties that a white employee, Rachel Kendricks, had brought from home.

Starnes is a 38-year veteran of the 4 Way. She and her sister took ownership of the diner about two years ago, when the proprietor died.

Today, she seems sweetly bemused by the black regulars and their stubborn preferences. They will often wait for one of the three stools in back even though seats are available in the main room.

'We'll say, 'You want to come up front?' And they'll say, 'No, I want to wait back here,' ' said Starnes, 54. 'I just feel that they feel comfortable eating back there…. I know them all, and I don't see no color.'"
A well written article without hysteria. How refreshing. My experiences of living in the south in the 70's was that if you had money, they had time and service. It wasn't until I got older and moved to New York and back to California that I ran into serious racism. I had a lot of fun in Huntsville AL.

A lot of fun. Iuka MI, not so much but the story is good for a laugh.

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