WHEN I LEARNED ABOUT MARTIN LUTHER KING, ROSA PARKS, CIVIL RIGHTS AND JIM CROW LAWS, AMERICAN SCHOOLS, MOVIES, TELEVISION AND POLITICS WERE ALSO BLACK AND WHITE IN RACIAL TERMS.

Jim Crow Laws in America
The History of Jim Crow Laws in America

A little blue door leading up rickety stairs on the outside of the movie theater to segregated smelly balcony seating did not stop my mother from taking me to see movies in the 1950s and ’60s.

Black children my age being abused by southern white law officials like Bull Conner did not stop me from watching fifteen-minute national news broadcasts on television. That’s what television was for me back then, a medium that led to change in the Jim Crow laws in America. 

What I realized over the years is that people were set in their ways of thinking. And their behavior was based on their ways of thinking. It takes a lot of energy and creativity on both sides of an issue to break old habits. But it can be done. Once you look at yourself honestly, you can be shamed into changing your behavior. Television and movies were a big part of shaming people into changing their behavior and changing the way the America looked at itself. Even the staunchest haters and believers in inequality cringed at the sight of themselves and those who represented their views on screen.

 

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