The Letter

Usually when I write a letter to the editor they have printed it, but not this time. They have occasionally posted stories about Springfield being segregated, but that’s simply not so. Here is the letter.
Dear editor,
The day before civil rights hero John Lewis passed away, there was yet again another mention of Springfield being racially segregated in the Illinois Times. I think that’s a slap at the late congressman and all that he and those like him have done.
I was born into a racially segregated America, raised in Cahokia, a hundred miles south of here. I never saw a Black person, or ever heard of races until I was maybe five, and I remember it because it embarrassed my mother. I was surprised that anyone would be so dark, and said “Wow, look at that man's tan!”
There were white and “colored” drinking fountains, stores, rest rooms, you name it. That was segregation, and thanks to the late congressman and those like him, America is a far better place than it was in 1964 when I was twelve and they passed the voting rights act.
Springfield is certainly not racially segregated, but it is segregated by income. Poor and middle class people can't live in many Springfield neighborhoods because they can't afford mansions. In 1960, a lot of African Americans lived in squalid housing and drove brand new Cadillacs, because he or she wasn’t allowed in a middle class neighborhood. My next door neighbor is Black, my other is White. It was impossible under racial segregation.
Harvard Park and Bunn Park are about equal in the number of each race, it seemed to me; I lived in Harvard Park and now visit Humphrey's and Felber's on 15th Street, and have friends who live there. In The Golden Book of Springfield, in 2018 nobody white was allowed east of the tenth street tracks.
Lindsay couldn't envision a non-segregated America. We have far to go, but we have gone a long way, just in my lifetime.
Stephen McGrew



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