By David W. Beckwith
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Additional info for A New Day in the Delta: Inventing School Desegregation As You Go
Sure beats the old-maid teachers I had in school. ” and the metallic clunk of a bunch of keys hitting the asphalt. “I’ll get those for you,” I offered. ” I picked up the keys and held them out to her. She smiled her thanks. Her eyes were light blue and fringed with long, black lashes. Looks good up close, I mused. As she took the keys with her left hand, I noticed that she wasn’t wearing a wedding ring. “I don’t know why I never remember to get my car keys out of my purse before I pick up a pile of stuff,” she said as she juggled the sheaf of papers under her arm.
There were few black businessmen. The clergy, trained in “separate but equal” seminaries, as well as teachers and principals trained in “separate but equal” colleges, were considered by both the black and white communities to be the cream of the crop. They held the ultimate positions for which to strive and were often extremely influential in the black community. My main contact with a black man was with Willie Smith, who worked at the Greenville Yacht Club. Willie was steadfastly servile and helpful when I wanted to take our boat out on Lake Ferguson or fish off the side of the club’s dock.
People were smiling, joking with each other. As I entered the room, a tall, thin, middle-aged black man came up to speak to me. He had graying hair, wore a coat and tie, and had an air of assurance. “Welcome to Lincoln,” he said, as if he really meant it. “You must be Mr. ” He held out his hand. “My name is A. B. Levison. ” As I put my hand in his, I realized what a seismic change this was for me— my first handshake with a black man. In this situation, Mr. Levison was not in a position of subservience.