Martin Luther King Day: Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD

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90 Responses

  1. Jean says:


    As one who writes as a pass time only and at my leisure, I am very impressed, frankly amazed, by Dr. King’s occasional writing, which he did, not sitting at leisure with a library at his disposal, but under duress and at at moments of great inconvenience. He penned letters and sermons that few could conceive of under any circumstances.

    I am also impressed with how well read Dr. King was. From your article, you quote Dr. King:

    “There was a time when the church was very powerful–in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed.”

    If I’m not mistaken, isn’t Dr. King paraphrasing an observation made in a letter written by Pliny the Younger back in the 2nd Century AD?

    If our country ever evolves into the kind of nation that the Declaration of Independence aspires to be, I don’t think it would be incorrect to see Dr. king as a founding father of that more perfect union.

  2. Duane Arnold says:


    I’ve always thought ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ to be one of his best. The other one I love is his sermon at Riverside Church, NYC.

  3. josh hamrick says:

    “I am also impressed with how well read Dr. King was.”

    Why is that a surprise?

  4. Bride of Christ says:

    Duane, Thank you for this article on Dr. Martin Luther King. He was a great man. We need more money pastor / leaders like him today.

  5. Jean says:


    I don’t encounter very many avid readers. With the internet, most people I know look up what they want to know with a Google search. With the internet and streaming services, reading is in competition with loads of various forms of entertainment. With the loss of local bookstores, I don’t even see a lot of books floating around anymore. Did anyone here give someone a book for Christmas this year?

    Along with what I believe to be the loss of popularity of reading, I detect a reduction in the average reading comprehension level in America. If folks need dynamic equivalent Bible translations today, I wonder what they could get out of reading the church fathers or Greek pagan sources (translated into English) from the 2nd Century.

    On the other hand, I do realize, and thank you for asking the question, that the 60s were a different time, and reading may have been a lot more popular and prevalent then than it is today. There certainly were not the internet, cellphones and video games competing with reading, and even televised sports was much less than it is today. However, my surprise is based on my personal context, which I guess I should not project back to Dr. King’s time.

  6. Xenia says:

    Did anyone here give someone a book for Christmas this year?<<<<

    Most of my peeps got a book and a hand-knitted stocking cap for Christmas, even the babies.

  7. josh hamrick says:

    As a teenager in the 90’s, I read everything about MLK I could get my hands on. He earned a Phd from Boston U. He was a legit brilliant guy.

  8. Jean says:


    I had a feeling, as I was typing that question, that if anyone had given a book this year, it probably would be you. Do you mind sharing with us, what titles you thought would make good gifts this year?

  9. Jean says:

    I agree Josh. I can see that in his impressive writings (letters and sermons).

  10. Xenia says:

    Baby Grandson: Farm Animals board book
    Wild grandsons: Books about Vikings
    Smart Granddaughter: A sci fi/ fantasy series (Otherland, by Tad Williams.)
    Techie Son: A book about that woman with the useless blood test machine (Theranos)
    Lawyer daughter in L.A.: Spanish for Lawyers and a book about spooky places in L.A.
    A son who is interested in history: A big survey book of world history
    Daughter in Law: A book by John Garth about Tolkien
    Another Daughter in Law: 2 books on recipes for toddlers
    The daughter in Minnesota: A book about Minnesota birds

  11. francisco says:

    Thanks for posting! I had forgotten that today was MLK day.

  12. josh hamrick says:

    ” A book about that woman with the useless blood test machine (Theranos)”

    Fascinating story.

  13. Duane Arnold says:

    I may have referenced this before, but in the early 90s I had the opportunity to host Jesse Jackson for an event at Wayne State University. In the course of the event, we were waiting backstage and just quietly talking. I worked up the courage to ask Jesse about what happened on the motel balcony in Memphis. He took 20 minutes to quietly tell me what had happened. When I looked at him, I saw tears rolling down his face… After more than 20 years, the sense of loss was palpable. It’s something I will always remember…

  14. Em says:

    If you were there when Dr. King rose to prominence, you realize what a debt of gratitude this nation owes him….

  15. Duane Arnold says:


    Agreed. Absolutely.

  16. Xenia says:

    Wayne County is named after one of my ancestors.

    I think MLK’s Letter from Birmingham Jail is one of the best things I’ve ever read.

  17. Duane Arnold says:


    It is astoundingly good prose… in addition to the contents.

  18. josh hamrick says:

    America freed the slaves in 1863 through the Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln, but gave the slaves no land, nothing in reality to get started on. At the same time, America was giving away millions of acres of land in the west and the Midwest, which meant that there was a willingness to give the white peasants from Europe an economic base and yet it refused to give its black peasants from Africa who came here involuntarily, in chains, and had worked for free for 244 years, any kind of economic base. So Emancipation for the Negro was really freedom to hunger. It was freedom to the winds and rains of heaven. It was freedom without food to eat or land to cultivate and therefore it was freedom and famine at the same time. And when white Americans tell the negro to lift himself by his own bootstraps they don’t look over the legacy of slavery and segregation. I believe we ought to do all we can and seek to lift ourselves by our own bootstraps but it’s a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps. And many negroes by the thousands and millions have been left bootless as a result of all of these years of oppression and as a result of a society that has deliberately made his color a stigma and something worthless and degrading.”

    MLK speech in 1968.

    So right. Still unfulfilled.

  19. Duane Arnold says:


    Yes, still unfulfilled. By the way, did you know that the phrase about lifting yourself up by your own bootstraps was first used in the 18th century in the tales of Baron Münchhausen? The phrase was used to indicate something that was impossible to do…

  20. josh hamrick says:

    Did not. INteresting!

  21. Dread says:

    Wonder how Dr King would feel about classing people as racists and white supremacists by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character?

  22. Duane Arnold says:

    For some, the content of their character has been revealed by what they do, and by what they have left undone….

  23. Jean says:


    Is that a thing Dread? Did you find a bum on the street say such a thing and then in your mind build it into a movement?

    There is more than enough content in this country. It doesn’t need to be overstated.

    Can the white identity deal with the reality that it is not destined to be the dominant color, race or ethnic identity in America? I’m white, but I can deal with it. I think it makes us a stronger country, a much more competitive economy, and can be a strength in diplomacy. But, I can also ask: Why have the whites not embraced God’s blessing of “be fruitful and multiply?” Are we too self-centered to have kids? To indulgent in hedonism? We’re lucky to have immigrants willing to work here in a lot of the blue collar jobs. Helicopter mom sure won’t let little Susie and Jonny mow lawns and roof houses. They have soccer practice at 5.

  24. josh hamrick says:

    I’m sure MLK would catch the faints is a poor white guy was mistakenly called a racist. I’m sure he never imagined such a miscarriage of justice could occur.

  25. Dread says:

    Actually Jean it is a thing and I can spam you with sources if you need it. Start with Ibram Kendi and Robin DiAngelo and expand from there.

    If you’ve benefited being part of a racial group that ever imposed injustice then you are by definition a white supremacist and punishable thereby.

    You are most certainly stained and not innocent. Guilt is inborn and stain is not removable.

  26. Bride of Christ says:

    Jean, I gave two books about the Mississippi River to my 93 year-old father for Christmas this year! One was called ‘Muddy River’ and the other ‘Wicked River’. My Dad’s father inherited a 300 acre island in the middle if the Mississippi river that was homesteaded many, many years ago.( His father was a fishermen from Sweden) My Dad is 93 and still managed to visit our ‘family Island’, called Jackson Island, twice by boat with my brother last summer. Reading is a passtime he still enjoys, along with visiting his beloved family homestead in the middle if the Mississippi River!

  27. josh hamrick says:

    Must be tough, huh?

  28. Anon says:

    good god…

  29. Bride of Christ says:

    I just recently learned that only whites, like my grandfather’s father, were allowed to to homestead land and own it for generations, as my family did in Iowa. So Josh’s comment s really resonated with me. On the bright side, my youngest daughter married a half African American and half Hispanic young man who is an architect who graduated from Harvard University. My two children are the ONLY remaining heirs in their generation of the homesteaded Island in my family, ( Jackson Island), so it may pass down to a mixed race ( white, black Hispanic) child someday… God us good.

  30. Jean says:

    What a story B of C. We have some small islands in the Mississippi up at Iowa. A 300 acrea island is big, and strikes me as an unusual place for a homestead. Neat that it remains in your family.

  31. Bride of Christ says:

    Oops, God IS Good! I am typing too fast. We may be arguing amongst ourselves while the young Christians among us who are the future are quietly marrying interracialy! My Calvary Chapel in Vista, California, just two hours from the Mother Ship in Costa Mesa , where I attended church for 35 years is at least half Latino. The schools I taught in for 39 years were half Latino and my youngest daughter attended UCLA, which is also very diverse ethnicly. That’s where she net her Seventh Day Adventist Christian husband who is an architect ( he worked on the new Getty Art Museum building in L.A). At least half of the children from Calvary Chapel Vista, where my kids attended, went on to marry a spouse from a different race. sometimes, Asian American, sometimes Hispanic American, and in my daughter’s case – a spouse with a Latino mother and a African American father. As I said, as we are arguing about racial strife, the brilliant young Christians, ( the ones who know better) are living and loving in racial harmony and raising mixed race young American Christian children of their own who ARE THE FUTURE! They will look back at us and just shake their heads in disbelief.

  32. Duane Arnold says:


    Love you, respect you. Not interested engaging in the politics of yesterday… That needs to be left behind.

  33. Bride of Christ says:

    Jean, it is an amazing story. My great uncles and my grandfather are mentioned in the local history books from the area. They were caught in the Armistice Day storm on the Missippi River when a dozen fisherman died. They were found alive on an island after they burned all their fishing nets to stay warm. The year their own isand homesteade and was claimed my relatives spent the winter in a primitive dug out cabin . My
    own aunt and uncle were born on the isolated island (in a nice house by then). By the time my father was born, the youngest, they also owned a nice house in Harper’s Ferry . The Harper’s Ferry Marina is still owned by my uncle, and a cousin of mine also lives onother closely island there ( They split the land – it was even more than 300 acres originally). I took a river tour in Prairie Du Chien a few years back and the river guide wads telling stories about my family to the tourists! When I told him who I was, he told everyone that I was real, actual “river royalty”! That gave me a chuckle! I’ve spent most of my life in California, but my brother and father still live there. I learned how to fish on that river, and I have a lot of fond memories from my childhood vacations there.

  34. Jean says:

    B of C,

    I grew up in the San Francisco bay area, but have lived in Iowa since 1998, except for a short stint in Chicago. I think SF is a great place to visit, but I prefer the Midwest as a place to live. I’ve been to Prairie Du Chien. Pretty soon, we’ll see what the Lord has in store for me in the Madison area.

  35. Bride of Christ says:

    My father lived in New Mexico, ( I was born there while he worked at the White Sands Missile Range, then he lived in
    Costa Mesa California while working for Aeroneutronics ,then then in Boston ( working for M.I.T research Labs), the he lived on Kwajalein Atoll for 20 years in the South Pacific ( rocket scientist still working for M.I.T. ) After all that he went “home” to Iowa / Wisconsin to live with my brother who moved there after college. I visit them every year and I really like Prairie Du Chien! I wouldn’t want to spend a winter there, however!

  36. Dread says:


    If you mean the election. I haven’t referenced it. If you mean MLK well that’s self evident you are interested. If you mean current racial issues. They are not past either.

    I was addressing Jean’s LOL and question.

  37. Duane Arnold says:


    “Start with Ibram Kendi and Robin DiAngelo and expand from there…”

    I don’t find myself as concerned as you seem to be by these new voices. They are writing in the shadow of a counter narrative concerning race that has held sway for almost four centuries. It is not incumbent for us to agree with them, but it is worthwhile to listen to them. The classic learning model of thesis, antithesis and synthesis is not limited to the academy. It also takes place in the wider culture. I think this is taking place in this moment of history. A “more perfect union” requires a continuous movement toward that lofty goal. In my opinion, new voices are part of that movement.

  38. josh hamrick says:

    But are we really going to claim that we harbor absolutely no racism? I think the charge of racism hurts because we know in some hated place deep down it is true.

  39. Em says:

    Racism will/should die when MLK’s words sink in about “content of character.”
    Too easy to broadbrush and excuse bad behavior as just “white privilege” or black privation
    Good actors and ad ones come in ALL skin shades

  40. Duane Arnold says:


    I think most of us harbor some elements of racism. We don’t like to admit it, it is hidden, but it is there. At least it is for me…

  41. josh hamrick says:

    The problem isn’t so much the bad actors as it is the bad system. There will always be hateful individuals, but there doesn’t have to always be an unjust system.

  42. Duane Arnold says:


    I think it is both. Bad actors aid in perpetuating the unjust system…

  43. josh hamrick says:

    Duane, for sure, but as long as we only focus on the bad actors, very little will change. None of us thinks of ourselves as one of those bad guys, but we all take part in the unjust system. As long as we’ll settle for not being outwardly hateful, rather than desiring actual equality for our brothers and sisters, we’ll be fighting this same battle.

  44. Duane Arnold says:



  45. Everstudy says:

    I’ve always found the words we use interesting. “Unjust system.” What EXACTLY do we mean by those two words. I can figure out ‘unjust’, but the word ‘system’ is so vague as to almost be meaningless. Which ‘system’?

    We can’t work together to rid society of something if we can’t even define what needs to be changed.

  46. josh hamrick says:

    Everstudy – the whole thing. I posted an MLK quote yesterday at 1:28. Check it out. That should be a start.

  47. Duane Arnold says:

    Systemic –
    relating to or noting a policy, practice, or set of beliefs that has been established as normative or customary throughout a political, social, or economic system: [examples]
    systemic inequality;
    systemic racism.

  48. Jean says:

    There are many systems. For a few examples:

    Educational systems. Under that heading there are the curriculums. What is the content of the education of our youth. In addition, there is the funding of our schools. Further there is the location of the schools. Also, there is the career counseling provided in the schools. All of these contribute to justice or injustice.

    Criminal justice systems. How are juries determined? Who has access to competent counsel? How are sentences determined? Where are police recruited from? Do police reflect and/or live in the communities they police? All of these contribute to justice or injustice.

    Voting systems. Where are the polling places? How many polling places are available for various communities? How are voters registered? Are barriers erected that favor certain voters over others? All of these contribute to justice or injustice.

    Employment systems. Are all candidates for a position given an equal opportunity? Are promotions made based on merit? Are employees given equal access to mentoring and career development opportunities?

    Tax systems. Is the tax system designed to entrench wealth in a subgroup or provide for movement among economic classes based on merit?

    Environmental systems. Do all citizens have access to safe water, air and living conditions, or are pollution producing factories located in predominantly poor areas?

    The term justice in this context has to do with civil righteousness. Are these systems righteous or just for all the systems of a society, or are they designed to perpetuate the dominance of a subgroup?

    Three issues are in play regarding justice:

    1) Citizens should be treated equally under the law (i.e., equal protection);

    2) Where there has been injustice committed against a citizen or community, justice would require restitution for the wrong suffered by the victim (i.e., making things right); and

    3) In a criminal context, justice may require the perpetrator of injustice to pay a penalty.

  49. josh hamrick says:

    Jean – Well said.

  50. Duane Arnold says:


    Yes… just yes.

  51. Jean says:

    Thank you Josh and Duane.

    I don’t think this is as complicated or opaque as some people think. I recall what the black Republican Senator from S. Carolina, Tim Scott, said on the Senate floor last year:

    “But instead of sharing experience after experience, I want to go to a time in my life as an elected official to share just a couple of stories as an elected official. But please remember that in the course of 1 year, I have been stopped seven times by law enforcement officers—not four, not five, not six, but seven times in 1 year as an elected official. Was I speeding sometimes? Sure. But the vast majority of the time I was pulled over for nothing more than driving a new car in the wrong neighborhood or some other reason just as trivial.”

    This is far from a one off experience. I have witnessed it myself when I was with a black young man in a white neighborhood. And if anyone spends any time with African Americans, it would be the exceedingly rare individual who would say that he has not been profiled or otherwise harassed on account of his race. It takes willful blindness IMO not to acknowledge that such things and other systems of prejudice exist in our nation if you have the courage to ask and look.

  52. Em says:

    Josh @ 11:12 am
    Is it fear or ? that gives/allows the bad actors the control they appear to have?
    IMO every child should have to study – really study – the roots and reasons for our Constitution and the Bill of Rights..
    Why did a determined group of Europeans cross the big Atlantic to found a new nation – one conceived in Liberty (with resonsibility)?

  53. Jean says:

    I actually look to Josh as a credible source on this blog (more credible than me) when it comes to systemic racism, because he’s a churchman who lives in the South. Josh is on ground zero for the state of racial relations, justice, reconciliation, etc. When he says systemic racism has been rooted out, I will believe it.

  54. Everstudy says:

    I’m not going to argue, because it won’t do anything for anyone, but I’d invite you to watch the video by Larry Elder

  55. josh hamrick says:


    We’re never gonna get anywhere.

    Here’s an easy one. Were Jim Crow laws racist? Ok, follow that line. People are still alive that suffered under Jim Crow. How do you think that system affected their development as a citizen? How did it affect their family, their children, their community?

    I picked Jim Crow because it doesn’t make us defensive. We can either say it was in the past, or it was just those dumb southerners. But it is an obvious example of systemic racism that personally affected millions of our citizens who are still alive today.

    Now, if Jim Crow was possible, imagine that it wasn’t the only example of systemic racism in our country, and imagine that many examples could still be in place today.

  56. Duane Arnold says:


    “But it is an obvious example of systemic racism that personally affected millions of our citizens who are still alive today.”

    As was ‘redlining’ in the north, as well as educational disparity across much of the country.

  57. Jean says:


    After everything the country has endured for the past 4 years (and hopefully learned from?), are you suggesting that a radio talk show personality (or any radio or television personality) is an educational source of truth about anything? You understand such opinion programs are profit and ratings driven, right?

    I have family that get their news from hosts like Limbaugh and Hannity. Such hosts become very wealthy men peddling their political opinions and incendiary predictions and theories to their audiences, who put amazing faith in them. These shows survive by lighting fires daily and weekly. Without the latest fire, the audience might turn the channel.

    I think Americans can do better for sources of truth. For some reason most Americans are very poor at distinguishing news from opinion. Most of media of all types is opinion. IMO, I think we should be very discerning about what we listen to, and what we pass on. I think most of us would be very upset at ourselves if we negligently pass off opinion or falsehood as fact or truth.

  58. Everstudy says:


    I was thinking that a black man with statistics might be worth listening to. I linked that video because it was pretty light, but I could have linked to intellectuals like Thomas Sewell or Coleman Hughes.

    Of course, you would have dismissed them as well because blacks are not allowed to have differing opinions, or to look at data, a different way than what’s been deemed acceptable by the left.

  59. Bride of Christ says:

    Interesting comment, Jean. I just read that Shep Smith, formerly of Fox News Network, just recently broke his silence about why he left Fox News. He basically said that he couldn’t stay any longer because newscasters at Fox News were “knowingly reporting and spreading falsehoods that they knew were untrue”. If anyone would know, if would be him, as he was an important person at Fox News for years.

  60. Michael says:

    I find these discussions strange.
    My grandfather was an overt racist and I don’t remember anyone objecting other than grandma.
    My community always has practiced selective racism…King shamed us into accepting blacks, but Mexicans had no champion.
    I was a racist until an encounter with Jesus in Mexico.
    My guess is that some darkness lurks where I choose not to look.
    I view the current thoughts on race like a view systematic theology…it can be helpful, but there are always parts that don’t fit.
    We need the discussions anyway…

  61. Jean says:

    B of C,

    I’m listing to Shep right now as he is commentating on the inauguration for the business channel, CNBC. For many, many years, Shep was extremely popular on Fox News on the news portion of their programming.

    He was very popular until he refused to be a propaganda mouthpiece for the prior President and to question his pronouncements (how dare a newsman do that!). Then with one or two Tweets, Shep was out.

    There was a fear at some news outlets that reporting the truth could be a career ender. Fortunately for Shep, he had a resume and reputation that he could take elsewhere. I think he will come out okay in the long run.

    I think its worth asking, “What helps you sleep good at night?” Is it scraping the last penny at the expense of your conscience? Or is it a good conscience.

  62. josh hamrick says:

    Everstudy, do you think the guy in your video shares the majority opinion among black people in America, or do you just share his video because he is one of the tiny few who lineup with what you think?

    That’s called tokenism.

  63. Everstudy says:


    I don’t care how many believe a certain thing if it is based on facts.

    We share a faith that only a tiny few hold, does that make our faith untrue because a vast majority of the world deny it?

    I think that the media, our politicians and celebrities have sold us a bill of goods in regards to the systemic/institutional nature of racism (current not past) and we, as a country, have bought it.

    And, I believed in systemic racism, until I started listening to these “tokens” (a term, where I come from, is racist in nature).

  64. josh hamrick says:

    In that case, then, answer the Jim Crow question.

    Is it possible that the people brought up under that *system* were not affected? Has it somehow not affected their children or grandchildren?

  65. Everstudy says:

    People were, and are, affected by Jim Crow laws, absolutely, especially in relation to family wealth.

    There are ghosts of the Jim Crow laws, but the Jim Crow system, the institution, was taken down, made illegal. Banks are no longer allowed to redline, grant deeds to property are no longer allowed to ban people based on race, cities and counties are no longer allowed to ban blacks after sunset.

    Jim Crow laws no longer keep people from voting, from going to college, from getting jobs, from moving to better neighborhoods.

    I am against racism, it is an evil.

    But to properly battle against that evil, we have to actually have something to fight against. The ghost of systemic/institutional racism, is just that, it’s a ghost where any inequality is blamed on racism, many times with no evidence of racism or evidence to the contrary.

    Show me a law, actual code and subsection, that is in effect (an interesting side note, there are many places that still have laws on the books that have been rendered ineffective by subsequent laws), that is racist, and I’ll join in a fight against it. Show me an actual institution and its policies that is racist, and we can fight against it. Show me an actual judge that provably sentences blacks harsher than whites with the same exact circumstances, and we can fight against him/her.

    Now, if we say that there are individuals in various different institutions that are racist, you’ll find no argument from me.

    I hope that you don’t think that I am excusing or accepting racism in any way, or think that it doesn’t exist. I’m a land surveyor, and I deal with grant deeds, legal descriptions, and the law everyday, so definitions are incredibly important to me. The subtle difference between “May” and “Shall” in a law is the difference between having to do something and having the option of doing/not doing something. That’s why I asked for a definition, so we, as Christians, can be fighting the same thing.

  66. josh hamrick says:

    I believe that you are against racism, but I believe that you are barking up the wrong tree to find it.

    If you agree that Jim Crow was a bad thing and we still feel its affects today…that IS systemic racism. Like I said, though, Jim Crow is an easy one. Lets stick with Jim Crow.

    Do you think any of those white people in the South at the time agreed with Jim Crow? I’ll answer that one for you: Overwhelmingly, yes, they did. Now, some of those white people are still alive, and have raised children and grandchildren as well. Some of them have owned businesses, been in government, and other decision making places.

    Do you think the white descendants of Jim Crow are truly calling things down the middle, just because the law changed?

  67. josh hamrick says:

    While I agree with Duane, and facts and figures are on this side, I am choosing a more philosphical approach, because facts have become so subjective over the last several years.

    Its a shame, buts that’s the world we live in.

  68. Everstudy says:


    Let’s assume that those still alive when Jim Crow was in affect, and supported it, were and are still racist. Does it necessarily follow that their children and grandchildren are also racists? Without evidence, I don’t think we can.

    And again, inequality does not always mean racism. It ignores the other various reasons for wealth/income inequality.

  69. Duane Arnold says:


    I know. It should be obvious, but apparently it is not…

  70. Everstudy says:

    Dr. Arnold,

    Your condescension and speaking past me is duly noted.

    I appreciate it.

  71. josh hamrick says:

    All of them are not racist. Many of us have seen the error of our ancestors ways. That’s the point. Its not enough to stop outwardly hating. Many of the ole boys ways still stand. I have benefitted from them. The way people are hired, sold property…tons of stuff…it is all systematically rigged for white poeple…even non-racist white people like myself, or you. The easy thing for us is to not see it. It benefits us to ignore this reality! I get it. But it isn’t equality. and that’s not right.

  72. Duane Arnold says:


    Not wishing to speak past you at all… Just as a question, did you ever have any experience of the American South in the 60s? Not a “gotcha”, just wondering.

  73. Everstudy says:

    Dr. Arnold,

    In the 60’s? No, I was born in 1972 in So. Cal.

  74. Duane Arnold says:


    Did not know. My family was all in south Georgia and north Florida. We visited often. I have vivid memories of white and colored washrooms, water fountains, etc. In my grandmother’s house, the black cook, Hattie, always entered by the back door (even after 1964). When my mother, who was from the north, told her to use the front door, my grandmother slapped Hattie on the face. My uncle was the Sheriff of Panama City. The Sheriff’s office had a 4×6 foot Confederate flag stretched across one wall. As my uncle said, “it reminds the **** who is in charge”. Much has changed since then, but, as we have seen, generational change takes time and is seldom all encompassing.

    There are many anecdotes that could be shared. There are facts and figures that bear out continuing inequalities, in economics, in the justice system and in education, to name but three areas. I don’t think connecting the dots is terribly difficult in determining that we still have a systemic problem.

  75. Xenia says:

    My family is from eastern North Carolina. We moved to Ohio when I was 3, but we visited our family down there every year so I was there in the sixties. Some things I remember:

    1. My aunt refusing to serve “coloreds” at her place of business.

    2. My cousin bragging about this stick he had with a painted red tip that he called his N—r Beater.

    3. The time my dad and I drove the “colored lady” home after she spent the day working for my aunt, washing, ironing and cooking. This woman lived in a shack up on blocks in the middle of a tobacco field. When we got there, a lot of little kids were waiting for their mom to get home.

    4. A black woman trying, and failing, to get the attention of a store clerk to help her with a refund and my cousins making fun of her. The clerk just ignored her as if she was invisible.

    5. Another cousin who was a teacher who didn’t want black children to come to white schools because “they jump out of windows like animals.”

    6. Another cousin, a newlywed, who had her own “colored lady” who came and did all her chores. How little must this woman have been paid for my cousin to have been able to afford her services?

    That’s all I can think of for the moment.

  76. Duane Arnold says:

    I should hasten to add that it is not just the South. I live in a neighborhood in which a “restrictive covenant” ran with the sale of the property. The covenant forbade the sale on any property to “Negros”. Judicially unenforceable owing to the Fair Housing Act of 1968, it remained in the covenant until 2009 when some of us forced a vote of the HOA to remove the language. Our case was not unusual…

  77. Em says:

    Jumping out of windows brought back a memory… My daughter had a little friend who was black and she brought her little brother along to play.. They decided to go out in the back yard and the girls ran for the door, but the little boy jumped out the bedroom window. I collared him and gently explained to him that windows served a different purpose than did doors and from here on out there were to be no shortcuts out the window. His reply was okay and his behavior was also.
    Sometimes we don’t realize how simple behavior changes can be in children…. IMO, of course. 🙆

  78. Em says:

    Dr. Duane @2:12. Our first home outside Seattle had a similar covenant in the deed – no Jews, negroes or Asians….
    By 1966 when we bought the house, it was just an embarrassing artifact – thankfully ! ! !

  79. JimmieT says:

    We returned to the USA recently where we served God as full time missionaries in Central America for 10 years. Agreeing with Duane Arnold’s statement “I think most of us harbor some elements of racism.” We realized soon upon our arrival the importance of seeing each person as having been created in the image of God and as fellow Brothers and Sisters in our Lord Jesus.

  80. Duane Arnold says:

    Jimmie T


  81. JimmieT says:

    At the young age of 18 I had never spoken to a Black person and vice-versa. I was in the Navy at the time(later to be transferred to the Marine Corp as a Combat Medic) hitchhiking in my Navy blues from San Diego to Tucson. It was the middle of the night and the middle of the winter when I got stuck in Gila Bend for what seemed to be hours. Cold and tired when a long black car seeing my thumb stopped in front of me. Running up to the car a window rolled down asking if I needed a ride. All I could see were Black faces both front seat and back. Having never had even spoken to anyone Black let alone riding in a car I had to make a quick decision. While they were waiting for me to decided I thought freeze or take a chance on getting to Tucson ‘alive’! I jumped into the back seat and off we went. As I sat there I consoled myself with the thought ‘at least I’m warm and on my way to Tucson(whether or not I get there alive). I fell asleep when three hours later I was woken awake by “Here we are- Tucson!” I left that car grateful and with such an appreciation for my introduction to Black people which I have maintained to this day.

  82. Duane Arnold says:

    Jimmie T

    Would love to hear more of your story…

  83. JimmieT says:

    Entered the Navy in San Diego the month of JFK’s assignation in Dallas Texas. At the end of boot camp recruits were given the choice of assignments. I chose what I thought would be an easy assignment- dental technician. Navy said they had too many dental techs at the time so they sent me to Balboa Naval Hospital for Hospital Corpsman School. Upon graduating I spent the next 3 years in San Diego as a Hospital Corpsman. Easy duty! The Vietnam war was escalating at this time so it was someone’s great idea to transfer myself and most of my fellow Corpsmen over to the Marine Corp for combat medical training. Training included medical treatment of wounded Marines- throwing grenades(this was fun) lots of running and push-ups for us fat and weak Navy Corpsmen. Now that we were in ‘Marine’ shape we shipped out of San Francisco on the troop carrier USS Telledega. Stopped briefly in Honolulu for refueling then on to Okinawa for more jungle combat training. Two months later arrived at Chu Lai Vietnam unloading body parts and dead Marines off helicopters. This was the beginning of the most horrific and godforsaken period of my life. What I experienced there until the end of my tour of duty left me with severe PTSD.

  84. JimmieT says:

    There are not enough adjectives in the human language to adequately describe the horrors of combat and war. I will do my best in subsequent posts if there are any interested. If not- God’s blessings!

  85. Duane Arnold says:

    Jimmie T

    While acknowledging the pain of the past, on this blog I think we are more and more concerned with the redemption we have found in Christ and how that shapes our lives and our point of view… God keep…

  86. Mike E. says:

    I have lived in a very white community all my life. Except for my time in the Army. We had black kids in our high school, but not many. In the Army, I met so many different black Americans. I loved them instantly. Most all of them were kind, and above all, joyful! So fun and filled with zest for life. They became my friends, from basic training, all throughout my military service, and especially in combat. Those experiences in my youth really shaped my view of black Americans. I have a deep respect for them, and an understanding of them, as a people, generally speaking of course. I love their contributions to culture, especially the blues, without which there would ne no rock n roll.

  87. Mike E. says:

    Jimmie T–Combat soldier here. Ever want to chat about your experiences, I’d be happy to hear from you.

  88. JimmieT says:

    Duane Arnold @3:32am
    Of course-Thanks!

  89. JimmieT says:

    Mike E@8:14am
    Thanks Mike- Welcome home!

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