Note: There is so much Black History this month with all of the items in the news—Black Lives Matter—that I decided to only share a couple of posts on Black History.
Last week, I was talking to some writing sisters about Black History Month and we each shared a personal piece of Black History. The stories were just as diverse as the writers. Some had been publicized and others hadn’t. So, I decided to share my story with those of you reading my blog.
Anyway, I was a small child when this happened. I do not remember all of the details. (I called my brother to see if he remembered any details, but he didn’t.) But here is the story as I remember it. My Aunt Mattie owned a custom drapery business and was moving to an apartment building on the north side of Chicago in the 1950’s. There was an apartment on the second floor that she would later rent; her and my Uncle Charles would live on the first floor and her business would be in the basement. They were to move in on a certain date; however, a white physician had not finished moving out yet. No one knew of the change of plans, except the doctor and my uncle and my aunt.
Racists bombed the apartment building, because they did not want blacks moving in the area.
The doctor was hurt and sued the City of Chicago. The doctor won his lawsuit and the building was repaired, which delayed their moving in for several months. However, as a precaution, the City of Chicago would provide police protection for a few years. The police officers chosen to “protect” the property were all white. They used the business bathroom in the basement. And often left messages on the wall, written with feces that said, “Nigger go home,” or “Niggers not wanted.”
These were the first racial messages that I had seen (and smelled), as a child. Our family was always a nervous wreck when visiting our relatives. There was a park across the street, but we were not allowed to go to the park for obvious reasons.
Fact: According to the Encyclopedia of Chicago, The Chicago Police Department, by far the largest police agency in the region, grew from 3,314 employees in 1900 to 10,535 in 1960. There was little change in the pattern of arrests. African Americans were better represented on the force than in other big cities and were slowly promoted, reaching the rank of captain—the first in the United States—in 1940. But black officers could not arrest white citizens, and black sergeants were never assigned to supervise white officers.
Note: The clipart is compliments of the Internet.