Readers write: Finding progress despite violent histories

Separate, but never equal

How brave and honest of the Monitor to uncover the deeper reasons for American violence and mistaken thinking in the June 5 cover story, “Exposing the roots of violence.” I spent my early childhood in Wilmington, Delaware, where my family housed and fed boarders working in the factories. My education at the time was all about pilgrims and Puritans, European and American history, and the war. 

When I was 11, we moved to Middletown, Kentucky, to be with family. It was 1948, and the important history and people around me were very different there from what I had been taught in Delaware. There, those “roots” from your article were stark and frightened me. 

I had difficulty with life on the Mason-Dixon Line. Life there was so wrong in my eyes, and my heart cried out. Black people were denied seats on the bus. They could be arrested if they entered a restaurant, restroom, or food or clothing market. They were denied the use of a drinking fountain, and there were no Black people on the streets. They worked everywhere but had no freedom to use the facilities open to me. 

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