Black History month should celebrate the whites who stood up to segregation like my father who when he was a bus driver in the south would not enforce Jim Crow on his bus and when he managed the bus station in Houston in the 50s, chained up the “colored” waiting room which was tiny and told the Post House that he would chain them up too if they didn’t serve everyone no matter the color. He was a brave man and I’m proud to be his daughter.
PBS did that this year with its three-week series on the abolitionists. It focused well beyond Douglass...William Lloyd Garrison; Angelina Grimke; Theodore Weld; Harriet Beecher Stowe; John Brown...mentioned others..
“Black History month should celebrate the whites who stood up to segregation like my father...”
This is a good point. My dad went to Ft Benning, Georgia for training with a bunch of fellow new recruits from Chicago; they went to town during a furlough. One of them gave up their seat for a older black lady. She was told to go to the back of the bus. My dad and his friends had to “explain” to the driver and the locals on the bus just how impolite that was. Apparently, the MP’s saw nothing and there was no evidence of anything and the whole thing got covered up between the city and Army.
When he came back from the war, my dad was one of the last REAL liberals who walked the walk. He taught and was later a principal in an increasingly dangerous “changing” neighborhood. He got his jaw broken breaking up a fight. He pleaded to rioters not to burn the school down in 1968. The stress of that environment probably took 10 years off of his life and a few off of other family members. My mom could never be certain when or even if he would be coming home. He sure didn’t get paid what it was worth.
These are some of the reasons that it really PISSES me off when I see what hard-won “equality” degenerated into. A lot of people (black AND white) took risks, got scorned, got beat up, got shot at and so on because they didn’t like people being called the “N” word. Now, the only people that can call people the “N” word are people whose parents and grandparents used to be called the “N” word.
My father was also a bus driver when I was growing up in the 40’s and 50’s. He drove for a small independent bus lines called Coastal Coaches, Inc. It was owned by a man named W. P. Fite who lived in Galveston.
We lived in Beaumont. My dad’s run was from Beaumont to Galveston and back 6 days a week. There was also an afternoon run from Beaumont to Galveston, driven by a man named Curtis.
It was not a union company. My dad got a plaque every 5 years without being involved in a wreck, or getting a moving violation. When he retired, his record was unbroken.
In order for each of the drivers to have one day a week off, they would drive both runs on one day, so the other driver could have that day off. My dad pulled the double run on Tuesdays, and Curtis pulled both on Wednesdays.
Even that long ago, he was adamantly against joining a union. I don’t know why. I know his pay was $55./wk—so we didn’t live very high on the hog—LOL! I have 2 brothers, so we were a family of 5. Greyhound tried to hire him on several occasions which would have meant more money and better perks—he never had a paid vacation day—we never went on a vacation. We never felt poor—my mom was a great cook and could do a lot with very little.
We didn’t have a car, so he was allowed to bring his bus home. One night a black child had gone to sleep on his bus and didn’t get off at his stop. When dad got home, he walked through the bus throwing out the trash, etc. as he always did, and discovered the child sleeping.
He woke him up and got a phone number to call the parents and tell them he would bring him back the next day, and that dad would take care of him until he was safely home.
We didn’t have a spare bed in the house, so Mom was making him a pallet on the floor, and the kid said he wanted to sleep in the bus where he was comfortable. Dad finally agreed, but he slept out there with him. I think the kid was about 8 or 9 yrs old.
Can you imagine this situation today!
Sorry I got long winded, but this is one of many memories I have of my dad, and for some reason, I was thinking about him today. He died in the early 60’s of a heart attack. I’m sorry that my children don’t have a lot of memories of him.