The striking thing to me, Dennet, was that moving from Ohio to Alabama, very little that actually mattered changed. In Ohio, the N-word couldn’t be used openly the way is was in Alabama, but many people still used it. School segregation hadn’t been legal and “official” in Ohio, but the schools were still effectively segregated, and so were the churches. The restaurants and parks weren’t segregated, but I guess Black people must have understand that staying away was wise. I’m scraping my memory hard right now, and I can’t recall even one time seeing a Black child in the huge public park behind my house in Ohio.

The difference moving South was just one of openness. Things that happened in Alabama happened in Ohio too. Only in Alabama, White folks weren’t shy about talking about it — and defending it.

I don’t suppose that make a tremendous amount of difference to either Black children or White children growing up in a system of practical apartheid.

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Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot.

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