|Separate "white" and "colored" entrances|
to a cafe in Durham, North Carolina, 1940
|The origin of the phrase "Jim Crow"|
has often been attributed to "Jump Jim Crow",
a song-and-dance caricature of blacks
performed by white actor Thomas D. Rice
in blackface, which first surfaced in 1832
and was used to satirize Andrew Jackson's
populist policies. As a result of Rice's fame,
"Jim Crow" had become a pejorative expression
meaning "Negro" by 1838. When southern
legislatures passed laws of racial segregation
– directed against blacks – at the end of the
19th century, these became
known as Jim Crow laws.
The Jim Crow laws were racial segregation laws enacted between 1876 and 1965 in the United States at the state and local level. They mandated de jure racial segregation in all public facilities in Southern states of the former Confederacy, with, starting in 1890, a "separate but equal" status for African Americans. The separation in practice led to conditions for African Americans that tended to be inferior to those provided for white Americans, systematizing a number of economic, educational and social disadvantages. De jure segregation mainly applied to the Southern United States. While Northern segregation was generally de facto, there were patterns of segregation in housing enforced by covenants, bank lending practices, and job discrimination, including discriminatory union practices for decades.
Black Dad--White Dad...
The James Womack Story
Co-author Anna Allen
I finished the last page of "The James Womack Story" and sat there, angry... Where is it? Where is the anger that this man deserves to have? And, if I am a Christian like him, why do I feel so angry on his behalf? Writers should probably realize by now that sometimes I get emotional about some books... So I apologize to James, though not for what I want to say.
James and I grew up about the same time! What a difference, however... Could I have gone through what he has and still be faithful? I don't think so... I even wondered if, in getting somebody to work with him, Anna Allen, that he needed somebody who could be the unemotional writer--to tell his story, without the negative feelings... Perhaps? I don't know, because all of it sounds so true... except the parts where you omitted the anger, frustration--the inability to continue to accept what the world has done, no matter what? I wanted it there--I wanted to share it with you... I felt you left out a very important part of the book... Is your faith so much stronger than mine? Of course, it must be. How else can you have survived?
Why aren't you as mad as I am, James? When your beautiful wife was left on the ground that day, why didn't you curse, shout out and...break...why wasn't that the final straw that broke your back? Of course not, because now your love for her keeps you going, taking care of her... I admire you, James Womack... May your story help many others find the inner strength exhibited in your story.
Mr. Samson* was a mysteriously diabolical man with many faces and personalities. He was a frugal landowner and businessman by day with a large area of farmland and thirty to forty sharecroppers he directed. When the sun set, his character became more sinister as he quickly transitioned to one of the hooded night riders surrounded by flaming crosses that terrorized sharecroppers who ventured to step out of line. I remember all of that as if it were yesterday.
The amazing thing about James' story was that the actions of the KKK were not the worst part of what Mr. Samson did to the Womack family. He would
provide whiskey to his Dad, who was then forced to leave his home, while Mr. Samson visited...
When the children were older, they were sent away also...but didn't realize...
I thought it was ironic that his one fortunate circumstance of falling in love at first sight, also had a negative response...His wife was white and they thus received all of the negative aspects of being an "interracial couple"!
Promises made from recruiting officers, though not fulfilled, resulted in James ultimately becoming a lifer in the military. Then went into Federal Government jobs-- both with discriminatory acts or lies affecting his career. He even had a firm basis, in my opinion, for an anti-discrimination case, having a young white female hired instead of him... but then, I can say that because I know the rules and regulations that existed at that time for Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunities. I know that much was not clear and many used the laws to do what they wanted to do...
His time in Vietnam has been shared more deeply than others that I've read, for which I was grateful, even as it was hard to read... I am sure the comments he shared when he got home was thought, but possibly never spoken: Veterans will appreciate hearing his words.
I did not understand how the American public could
think so little of the soldiers who were doing their duty, and who were defending themselves and their comrades. I felt like I did not understand anything anymore. How could people be so violent toward one another? How could we treat our fellow humans with such total disrespect? How could we not reach out and support each other in such difficult times instead of
criticizing and condemning one another? I could not answer these questions. I could not understand this world of war and I pray that I never do.
There was so much in this book with which I related. James Womack's story has touched me in so many ways. His book ends with his personal testimony of God's place in his life...
It speaks so much of his faith... and triumphant victory...
And yet, he closes, sharing even more, his one regret...
James, I do believe that you will indeed dance with your father...as well as your Heavenly father one day!