|Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.|
During that time in Amite, Louisiana, Jim Crow was live and well. I hated going to town with my grandmother because she was made to say "yes mam", and "no sir" to white people and sometimes to young white people younger than herself. We were not allowed to go in certain places and had to wait until all the white people was served first.
I remember the older people talking about the KKK and how they were burning crosses in the yards of African American people in Amite, La and surrounding areas. Up to this day people in Amite, Louisiana doesn't like to talk about the racism that they experienced. Places like "Nigger Alley" the "Nigger Window" and the Jim Crow Theater.
|Mrs. Alma Harrison Vernon at a School Board Meeting|
Although my uncles and cousins were fighting in Vietnam, we were fighting back home for equality and our civil rights. As a child I never visit the public library, movie theaters and other public places that was segregated by the Jim Crow laws. I remember my mother coming home from work very angry and upset that she was called a "nigger" by a man named Mr. Cobb who owned a second hand store. My great uncle Alex Richardson came out to my mother's home to help address that matter.
|Protest and March in Washington, D.C.|
My cousin Adam and his friends were walking home from a football game and when a car with young white men came along and tried to run over them. They had to hide out in the ditch to keep from being attacked or run over by them.
The civil rights movement was the first of the 1960s-era social movement produced one of the most important American social activists of the 20th century. African Americans had to sit on the back of the public buses, they were refused services in hotel and restaurants, and still went to racially segregated schools. Even in the segregated schools we got the hand me down books from the Tangipahoa Parish School Board.
I still get the feeling that both African Americans and white people people in Tangipahoa Parish don't want to embrace a conversation, lectures or discussion on this topic. To this very day this conversation is avoided even in our own homes.
Many of our parents was working as house maids, nannies, and handy men, drivers and gardeners in many of the white homes in Amite, LA., Life was difficult in many of the rural towns in the 50s and 60s. Up until now, many things still haven't changed.
The Northshore Black Elected Officials Coalition and Association of St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington Parishes, had taken on the task of identifying and addressing critical needs including, economic development, criminal and civil justice, education, youth leadership, transportation and faith-based outreach.