By Melton McLaurin
In Separate Pasts Melton A. McLaurin in truth and it seems that recollects his boyhood through the Nineteen Fifties, an period while segregation existed unchallenged within the rural South. In his small native land of Wade, North Carolina, whites and blacks lived and labored inside of every one other's shadows, but have been separated through the historical past they shared. Separate Pasts is the relocating tale of the bonds McLaurin shaped with pals of either races―a testomony to the ability of human relationships to beat even the main ingrained platforms of oppression.
A new afterword presents ancient context for the advance of segregation in North Carolina. In his poignant portrayal of latest Wade, McLaurin exhibits that, regardless of integration and the election of a black mayor, the legacy of racism remains.
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Extra resources for Separate Pasts: Growing Up White in the Segregated South
Not long after they became involved with the Witnesses, Street's wife died; he never said of what, although it was a long illness. With his wife's death, the Witnesses became the most important thing in his life. Sometime in the late 1930s Street returned south to become a full-time "teacher" for the Witnesses and would devote the remainder of a long life to spreading their message. I don't know why Street chose to settle in Wade; he never told me.
Since there was an air compressor at the store, I was charged with keeping the ball inflated. Although we played on a black playground, the white kids controlled the situation because we controlled the ball. None of the black players had a ball, so without us there was no game. Under the circumstances it made little difference which team won. However, had the black players challenged what Howard and I perceived as our rights on the court, we probably would have taken the ball and left the game.
Blacks who lived on outlying farms, like many of the white farmers, "traded" at the store, coming into the village religiously each Saturday to buy supplies for the coming week. Teachers from the school next door stopped by after classes to fill their gasoline tanks or to purchase a few groceries or household items. At lunch periods and after classes were dismissed for the day, students swarmed into the store, buying candy and soda pop, and occasionally pencils and paper or composition books. From the fall I entered the seventh grade until I left for college, I was at the store each weekday afternoon, each Saturday, and every day except Sundays during the summer.