The News Courier
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The fight will take forever
When I was young, African Americans were referred to as negroes, colored people, and the “N” word. The “N” word was a common word back then, and I venture to say that anyone who is 60 or older would be hard-pressed to deny ever having used that word.
When I was a kid, I didn’t even know it was offensive. I grew up in Decatur and the segregated area where blacks lived in shacks on dirt roads in the area close to Bank Street was referred to as “N” Town. The balcony of the Princess Theater, where entrance was gained via an outside staircase, so that concession areas, water fountains, and bathrooms would not be shared, was referred to as the “N” section.
In the downtown Woolworth store there was a water fountain labeled “white” and a smaller one labeled “colored.” I remember when young black men stared at the sidewalk when walking in the downtown area so that they dared not even look at a white girl or woman.
I first became cognizant that something wasn’t quite right when a black woman and her daughter were over at my granny’s one day. The little girl and I were about 4 years old. She had her doll and I had mine and we played and played and I remember what fun we had and how we hugged each other when it was time for them to go.
I asked if she could come over and play again one day and both my granny and her mamma clutched their chests and said, “Oh, no, no, no.” At that moment in time the little girl and I just stared at each other; we just didn’t understand why. It just didn’t register. We were like deer in the headlights. As time went on, my feelings of, “something’s not right here,” continued to grow and, as history has told, I was not the only one.
I am hopeful that, as human beings, we will continue to evolve and to work to fight against that which is unjust forever. And it will take forever. As we learn better, hopefully we will do better.
Thank you for the help
Our house on Alabama 127 burned at the end of April. We would like to thank everyone who donated and helped us when we needed them most.
We also would like to thank the little boy who donated his last little bit of money to help our family.
Thanks to all of you, and may God bless every one of you.
The Rayborn and Osborn family
Museum in need
In reflecting on the Alabama Veterans Museum’s recent Fourth of July activities, it is recognized as a great and wonderful asset for Athens, Limestone County and North Alabama. It was the “2009 Attraction of the Year,” and welcomes 5,000 to 6,000 visitors annually.
Plus, it is more than just a museum. It is truly a living representation of the dedication provided to the United States by all of our citizens, the military services and their war fighters. It also presents a dynamic view of the dramatic sacrifices made by our veterans and their families in defending our country and its freedoms.
The museum is not a warehouse (or mausoleum) built to store only books and printed material (with questionable attendance). The museum has excellent attendance and is a resource that supports the generation of local revenues. It is very well managed, has great changing formats and is viewed by all for its importance and historical significance.
The museum is a wonderful tribute to the local men and women who have served our country with pride. It provides an excellent presentation of support roles, as well as a view of the violent conditions and voluntarily heroic actions taken in combat situations to protect and save the lives of others. It is a unique treasure, and I can tell you as Vietnam veteran who has visited many such museums, it is the only one that evokes so many of my personal memories and emotions the way the wall in Washington, D.C. does.
What is needed now is $1 million in contributions for an expansion. Through the support of our citizens, the city of Athens and its council, the Limestone County Commission, our state legislative representatives, special interest groups, and local corporate interests (such as Boeing, SAIC, CDC, Lockheed Martin, etc.) who benefit so greatly from military defense contracts, it can be successfully accomplished.
It is a true focal point for our veterans and it reflects their pride, camaraderie and heroism, and contains so many patriotic memories, which educate hundreds of people. So please donate and/or find the funding necessary to expand the museum as a tribute to our veterans and current freedom fighters.
Let’s help make it more valuable than it is now through our contributions. I am making mine now. Are you? Please contact Sandy at the museum at 256-771-7578.