The following is an excerpt is taken from the from
“In Washington, D.C., reminders of America’s dark history of segregation” – written by Pulitzer Prize award winning Opinion Writer Colbert I. King. The article was originally posted on February 26, 2016. Read the full article on The Washington Post website.
My recognition of African American contributions began in the 1940s with annual celebrations of Negro History Week at Stevens Elementary School in my West End/Foggy Bottom community. Our nation’s capital is also where I experienced first-hand America’s shame.
Liberty Baptist Sunday school taught me the Ten Commandments. Civil authority in the city taught me the others.
Among them: Thou shalt not attend Grant Elementary School on G Street NW, which was for white children only. Thou shalt not attempt to enter the Circle Theater at 21st and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, where only whites were allowed. Thou shalt never think about dining downtown.
Thou can purchase sodas and sandwiches at the drugstore at the corner of 25th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. But thou shalt not sit and eat. Thou must stand at the end of the counter and wait patiently to be recognized.
Ah, Washington of my youth — a place and time when skin color determined where you lived, attended school, worshiped and worked, and how much you got paid.