Re-fighting the Civil War


Prologue:

In 1958, at the tender age of 18, I was in my second year at the University of Chicago. Come Spring Break, a fellow student and myself set off for Florida on his motor scooter. We didn’t get far, and next set out hitch-hiking. In Dothan, Alabama, we were picked-up by a local kid who decided to show us Yankees how they treated blacks in their neck of the woods, first driving onto the sidewalk in pursuit of a black man, and then backing-up on a black riding a bicycle. After arriving in St. Petersburg, our host (another student) entertained us by taking us on a cruise through “niggertown”, during which we were encouraged to follow his example, as he and friends yelled obscenities through the open windows at black pedestrians. All of this was too much for me, and I left by myself, hitch-hiking back north. At night, in Sylvania, Georgia, local hoodlums made repeated u-turns by me, yelling threats. This broke my spirit completely, and, with very little money left, I got on a bus to Jacksonville, North Carolina, where my older brother, Joel, was stationed at Camp Lejeune Marine base. In the crappiest of bars beside the base, we commiserated together and I bummed bus fare from him for the remaining distance to Chicago. I couldn’t eat until we crossed the Mason-Dixon line, from Kentucky into Illinois. I felt in imminent danger, as though a big black whirlpool could open below me and swallow me up, never to be heard from again. In retrospect, I came to understand that I was having a severe and prolonged panic attack. Did I ever return to the South? Of course not. It was a cesspool of humanity … and much of it remains that way today.

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After the shooting of nine blacks in Charleston, South Carolina, seven black churches have been burned, and the KKK is out recruiting. There are, it appears, many in the South who just can’t accept the fact that they lost the Civil War and that the slaves were freed. They have been raised on a diet of racism, and are now complete fanatics, on a par with Al Qaeda and ISIS. They hate everything that is not the South (as they wish to keep it), and are forcing this country to re-fight the Civil War. Which we will do, of course, until they are put out of action. Depending on how much more agony they bring to the South, it might require an occupation of sorts, coupled with a second Reconstruction, harsher than the first. Whatever it takes.

 

About believesteve

I am a photographer and have published a book of photography and accompanying text on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The first (print) edition is out of print, but a second edition is available as an iBook (eBook) through the iTunes bookstore. All Grand Canyon, river and nature lovers will enjoy my book: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-grand/id672492447?ls=1
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