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week1_c - The Right Kind of Father The News £3“ 05592...

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Unformatted text preview: The Right Kind of Father The News £3“ 05592:?! Raieieh, North Catch-ma, Eridav, Au est “-3 1 * e 4 3 932 of rhe tributes t0 former Oafiiami Triéune edimr 2:253 pubiisher Robert C. Maynaré, who ciied Faxes- day of cancer at 35‘ ’weii on the lasting difference he made in spen- ing up U S. newsrcams so minority journaiists. That weuid jusriy make May- narci proud. He himsefif had Maxed the way to the eminence where, as the first hiack Owner , 2 a major general—drcaiation daiiy he {Quid commané a hearing for this sense A Eare éozen years after quitting high school to write for a black weekiy, he earned a prized iournal— ism feiiowship t0 Han-ere}. His bri— iiant newsroom career be ught him creriibiiity when he mi”: edizars and pubiishers {hey were 3:202}; doing wrong and wasting mien: in faiiing {a hunt cu: promising minority re— perters Mos: go: the message. News 5* 0559272? readers, fiow- ever, knew Maynard 3east as a gem ziicateri coiumm'sr. Here IOO he wiii he hard to repiace, 1’02“ he haé a gift unique among current pundits £01” shrinking massive prabiems to famiiy size. Of the scores of Maynard coi— umns this newspaper carried, grab ehiy haif began with some homeiy anecdore—a- chiié’s dinner—tab‘ie question! a saying from his Barba— dos—immigram mother He taught his three children and his many readers that tedey’s issues are nei— ther {so new nor too compiex to yieiri t0 Cid, tested, honora’bie roois and measures Through his writing on readers as widely various as iapanese trade, teen pregnancy and arisen rims ran a singie strong, eadur‘ing theme the need for" indiviéu' is. i’emi res and ccmmunities IO take responsi- biiity Efis own tamiiy has suffered a great ices in the death of Bois- May— nard, who seemed to mere-sent the best meaning :2? the ward ”fa- rheriy"-~exempiar, teacher, guide and friend {'1 our degree so have we an ”M. ( A Recollection 17 November‘s Old November 23, 1980-»These are days of universal remembrance Where were you on that (lay in 1963 when you heard that Presiclent Kennedy had 1oeen shot in Dallas! Everyone who remembers at all remembers that day. for me, it is a (lual memory The first president for whom I voted was killecl But something else happened that (lay, an event that marks for me the point between two Americas. There had been the old Elm Crow America with the "white” and ”colored” signs in the washrooms and other subtler signals of segregation. As I entered adulthood and the newspaper business, those oar- riers were falling, but the pace then was slow One of the problems posed by that slow transition is that some things were open to blacks {we all said Negro then) and some things were not Often, you only found out by challenging the harrier That could pose the risk of physical pain sometimes, emotional pain everytirne Being turned away from a restaurant on a hungry night always took a little slice out of your soul. But i am getting ahead of my story. Coping with the shock of that day had been difficult for us in the little town of York, Pennsylvania, where l was trained as a journal- ist The story coming over the wire would not have been believable if it were not for the television to make it seem somehow more real. Finally, a little after midnight, the newspaper came out it was con— firmed in black and white. We stood around staring at the news- paper.- Nobody wanted to go home. My boss of that time was an adventurer, an editor who played a mean game of tennis every clay and who guicled his institution on the general theory that the editor eclits best who edits least But he cared passionately about every line in the newspaper and he vented his lrish wrath on more than one hapless soul who forgot the main Higgins rule: ”People first. Everything else comes after pe0ple "’ Higgins simply could not go home that night 1: John P Kennedy hatl been his Harvard classmate ) “Listen,” he saié, ”1 know this place in Baltimore It’s got great 13:; A Recollection 17 Nooemk'ers Old Greek f0od and fantastic hell: dancers it’s just the thing to pull us out of this mood " We were on the sidewaEk outside the ofiites oi the York Gazette and" Daffy it was a. few minutes past midnight The chiii of the night was nothing compared to the Clliii that came from thinking of a president she: dead We walked in silence to the parking lot across the street ”I: it ill do us both good to get our minds ofi this, ’ said iiiggins ”Jim, do you realize you are inviting me to a nightclub that does not serve Negroes? You’re putting me on " The law on public accommodations was in a peculia: state at that time In theory, the days when restaurant owners couid publicly announce ”white only" service was over The law was shifting to- ward the position that public accommodation meant just that But not all establishments obeyed that law in 1963 and many used suin— terfuges, as lirn Higgins and [would learn on the night of Nov 22—- 23, 1963. The first sign of trouble came when the headwaiter seated to people who came in after us and left us standing by the entryway, craning our necks to see the dancers The dancers were having a good time not remembering, as I remember Warm and sensuous aromas came irom the kitchen Higgins and I remained by the door Perhags 20 minutes passed The headwaiter asked us what we wanted Higgins said we wanted a table The head“ aiter said he had none We pointed in unison to an empty one not ’10 feet away ”That one is reserved,” said the headwaiter ‘ For whom?" asked Higgins ”For a member of the club," said the headwaiter ”‘What club?" asked Higgins ”Oh, didn’t you know? This is a private cluh Members only," said the headwaiter. S All this was taking place in hoarse whispers by the door inst then, Higgins spied a man he knew from York tie bolted from our right iittle circle and walked up to the table. "Hey, man,” said Hig- gins, "you a member oi this ciuh?” The man looked hiank ”Club?" The headwaiter maintained it was a club now, even though it wasn’t when Higgins had been there the week before. and even though that man sitting over there did not remember that he joined that night “lust tonight? He joined tonight ?” NOVEMBER 2;, i980 136 “Yes," said the headwaiter, ”just tomght ” ”Terrific We want to join tonight ” ”Oh, sorry, said the headwaiter ”You Can ’t Not tonight ” ”Why not tonight? You just said the guy over there ioiried to- night” ”But it is too late to join tonight.” ”But he just joined tonight.” ”Yes but you see, the president is gone.” ”The president is gone 7” ”Yes. Only Our president can make you a member and he has gone home for the evening Sorry.” Higgiris exploded "lf you still have a president, you are lucky. We lost ours tbnight; So fine, we will wait for your president. We won’t leave Call your president ” And before another Word was said, we were sitting at that empty table ”reserved for a member ” The Baltimore City Police Department arrived in five minutes. As 1 saw the swarm of bluetiniforms coming through the deer, I asked Higgins if: he Wanted to take another minute arid review our position as journalists about to make news. He said he didn' t give a damn I said, fine. I was just a reporter. The owner emptied the joint The last patron out called over his shoulder m a foreign language that he couldrl’ t wait to cemp'ensate us for the inconvenience. One of the belly dancers said she was sorry, that it wasn’t fair Then she left Soon, it was the two of us the headwaiter and the policemen Then all but one of the police- men left The one who remained said he could do nothing for us or against us He left ”The owner appeared, a shert and dapper man who said we had ruined his establishment and we would lie called to account shortly. Then he left. The headwaiter said he might as well go and get his topcoat . We had the joint to Ourselves with nothingto eat or drink and no music or dancers ”I guess we should go,” i said to Higgins "There’s a mob of men out there," he said We decided We might as well go and face it" We came to the front door and a roar Went up from across the street There stood perhaps 25 angry patrons As we moved toward the corner, the mob moved behind us and the curses sounded Closer and more sincere When we reached the corner, we encountered the last officer to leave the establishment ”I’m sorry you gentlemen didn’t have a A Recollection r7 Nooembers Old nicer evening in Baltimore,” he said; ”but I hope you’ll come hack some time and give us another chance ” With that, he made an odd gesture. He tipped his cap to us. . At the tip of the officer’s cap, 50 sets of headlights came on at once. Uniformed police officers appeared from the rooftops and Run of cellar windows; or so it seemed at the time. They surrounded us and marched us to my car. They escorted us: until we were miles away; Anyway, said Higgins, it was a nice drive; NOVEMBER 23,, 1980 737 Reconczlzntton Struggle gill}! o, 1992~f he children and were talking at dinner The subiect was the days of my youth They always :want to know about the world when Dad was their age What did people wear, eat, think and do in those ancient times? They cannot, 0:" course, imagine a time before hip-hop music, high-top fade hairstyles and color television There were deeper differences than those 1 tell them oi :he days of rigid racial segregation, drinking fountains, rest rooms and res— taurants tor white people only “That’s unreal,” the littlest on): says They read of such things in their histOry books, but it is something else to know someone who car speak oi such times from his per- sonalexpenence : Outrageous as they find those times, they think about racial is- sues ditierently from the way my generation thought of them. My children's generation does not necessarily find that integration is the answer my generation thought it was l~or us, the remedy ior segregation was to make a world where white people and black peo— ple shared everything We wanted all the schools open to all people The prevailing doctrine of that time was that if white people and black people were made equal before the law, the tirolalems that came from racial division could eventually be healed My children’s generation has a different idea They do not feel that same imperative They lo‘elieve they have a right of equal access to those things available to every other American No question about that But do they believe the solution to the problem of racism lies in peonle of all colors living, working and playing together? Well, yes and no They think that if people can get along and respect each other, that’s line But it a white person cannot respect them, they do not feel the need to be around that person or, more impor- tant, to have that person around them As we approach a presidential election, the issue of race will arise again, as it inevitably does in our quadrennial debate about our des- tiny in the past, it has been common to discuss the views of the African-American community as it it were a monolith, speaking with a single voice As i listen to those of my children’s generation, 1 an: keenly aware that is not necessarily true There are growing tori 9, 3992 generational differences in the attitudes of peoples oi color toward the matter 0? race. lWhere my generation placed a high premium on the importance of integration, my children’s generation cares more about cultural identity and the right to express on e’s feelings openly and honestly, ”whether other people iilte it or not," as one young man out it to me not so long ago 1 g in such a circumstance, our political leaders should be very carew ful this time around They should he sure about whom they are speaking when they address the important issues of the concerns of the black cemmunity I have become coni ince‘d there are deep gen~ era’cional fissures running through this nation today No place are those divisions more evident than between generations in the black communities ' i think the basic issues of dignity and equal opportunity are still of abiding concern, as they have been for the past half~century How those issues are expressed, however, is changing with the changing character of a different generation whose experiences are as different as lie—bop and hip—hop Bridging those differences will be as much of a challenge in some instances as bridging the differences of race that still plague this nation. The danger lies in assuming that race alone determines at— titude Age has a great deal to do with the challenges we face in healing a society that has been riddled with deep divisions over the last few years. In our house, we find ourselves constantly fascinated by the great amount we can learn from each other. We find our— selves constantiy referring hack to that important hit of wisdom from author Stephen R. Covey ”Seek first to understand, then to he understood ” 68' Reconciliation Struggle ...
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