Blacks Like Me

In 1955 the three nations of the Dixie bloc [in the U.S. South] were still authoritarian states whose citizens – white and black – were required to uphold a rigid, all-pervasive apartheid system. Across the bloc adult blacks were required to refer to even teenage whites as ‘Mister,’ ‘Miss,’ or ‘Missus,’ while whites were forbidden to address blacks of any age with these titles, using ‘boy,’ ‘Auntie,’ or ‘Uncle’ instead. Blacks and whites were prohibited from dining, dating, worshipping, playing baseball, or attending school together. The caste system required that blacks and whites use separate drinking fountains, rest rooms, waiting rooms, and building entrances; that factories maintain separate production lines, with blacks unable to be promoted into ‘white’ positions regardless of experience, merit, or seniority; and that theaters, lunch counters, restaurants, railroad companies, and public bus systems maintain separate seating by race. In Mississippi it was illegal to print, publish, or distribute ‘suggestions in favor of social equality or of intermarriage between whites and Negroes,’ with perpetrators subject to up to six months in prison. Klansmen and other vigilante groups tortured and executed blacks who violated these rules, often with the public approval of elected officials, newspaper editors, preachers, and the region’s leading families. White violators faced legal penalties and, worse, the social ostracism that resulted from having one’s family branded ‘nigger lovers.’ Dixie’s white religious leaders, with few exceptions, either bestowed divine endorsement on this system or kept silent.
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Blacks Like Me

In 1955 the three nations of the Dixie bloc [in the U.S. South] were still authoritarian states whose citizens – white and black – were required to uphold a rigid, all-pervasive apartheid system. Across the bloc adult blacks were required to refer to even teenage whites as ‘Mister,’ ‘Miss,’ or ‘Missus,’ while whites were forbidden to address blacks of any age with these titles, using ‘boy,’ ‘Auntie,’ or ‘Uncle’ instead. Blacks and whites were prohibited from dining, dating, worshipping, playing baseball, or attending school together. The caste system required that blacks and whites use separate drinking fountains, rest rooms, waiting rooms, and building entrances; that factories maintain separate production lines, with blacks unable to be promoted into ‘white’ positions regardless of experience, merit, or seniority; and that theaters, lunch counters, restaurants, railroad companies, and public bus systems maintain separate seating by race. In Mississippi it was illegal to print, publish, or distribute ‘suggestions in favor of social equality or of intermarriage between whites and Negroes,’ with perpetrators subject to up to six months in prison. Klansmen and other vigilante groups tortured and executed blacks who violated these rules, often with the public approval of elected officials, newspaper editors, preachers, and the region’s leading families. White violators faced legal penalties and, worse, the social ostracism that resulted from having one’s family branded ‘nigger lovers.’ Dixie’s white religious leaders, with few exceptions, either bestowed divine endorsement on this system or kept silent.
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