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CIVIL RIGHTS AND WRONGS One reads the early Observer stories about race relations with a certain horror the resistance to integration was, at times, so tenacious, the racism so open and casual. By 1978, one former school board member was able to look back and admit the shame: “It was such a sad situation, and I’m not very proud of it.” On the other hand, harsh racial attitudes continue to match harsh conditions for the state’s minorities. After ten striking farmworkers were shot in South Texas in 1975, one grower vowed to harvest his melons “even if there is a little blood on them. ” stalked him wearing my glasses began to lose its pumpkin-orange quality. How I wanted to take those glasses into East Texas while Senator Parker stood before a grand jury! I even spent a few afternoons loitering around Rep. Mark Stiles’s fourth floor capitol office, wearing my glasses and hoping to see the orange appear on him or anyone else from that part of the state. \(Of course, Stiles does not have all that much hair But Senator Parker has, thus far, survived his ordeal as we knew he would. I personally think that he’s a lot tougher than Wilson, probably smarter, and certainly more quotable. “Ronald Reagan,” Gerald Ford once said of his primary opponent, “isn’t that old, his hair is just prematurely orange.” Now there is a quote that has haunted me since that Fourth of July vision. Could it be that Ford and a handful of other Republicans own pairs of these glasses, giving them a slight technological advantage at least in vision over Democrat counterparts? I don’t know. And could it be that this is the year, for our handsome mayor, and a swarm of Texas Democrats of similar loyalties, to ride the prematurely orange electoral tide into a party where they wouldn’t feel, well, so ideologically compromised? “Tory Democrats,” as they’ve been rightly described in these pages for as long as I can remember, using the Democratic primary to select a county judge then closing ranks with Nixon, Reagan, Clements, and Gramm. Somedozen or so yellow dog Democrats Democratic party in Texas. And, when the chickens of Reaganomics/Grammonomics come home to roost, and they will, it would be nice to know where everybody stood back when money was laid down and ballots were marked. Bring out the glasses. I bought mine at a chain-owned drug store in East Texas, and for less than $6.00. I’ve never seen another pair like them on any rack, but if I ever do, well, you can just bet I’ll buy every last one. Meanwhile, they sit alone in a safedeposit box in a downtown Austin bank. And when next year’s box rent comes due, well I’m seriously considering taking them out and donating them to the editorial staff of a certain publication, you know, maybe as a birthday present. So there you are. And watch out! Louis Dubose December 14, 1984 Jim Crow Bus Policy Hit Dallas A $20,000 damage suit based on a complaint for racial discrimination has been filed in Dallas’ federal court by a 63-year-old Los Angeles, Calif., Negro, Ben Maddox. Sued are Southwestern Greyhound Lines, Inc. , and Pacific Greyhound Lines, Inc. The suit grows out of an incident in a Greyhound bus that had stopped in Dallas on Feb. 8, 1953, while on a run between Los Angeles and Texarkana. Maddox says the bus driver forced him to take a back seat in the bus at that time. . . . March 7, 1955 The Citizens’ Council Kilgore Here, deep in the Piney Woods of East Texas, in a town with 10,000 people and 1,200 oil derricks inside its city limits, the first Texas organization for the preservation of school segregation has been formed. The Citizens’ Council of Kilgore claims 1,660 members and hopes for 2,500. About 175 people attended its second meeting last week and heard two speakers damn integration, miscegenation, “mongrelization,” and the “Supreme Court leftists.” The purpose of the council is to maintain segregated schools. To do it, the members will have to intimidate the Negroes one way or another. There is little doubt that most Negroes who seek integration will lose their jobs. Leaders of the council steadfastly deny any intention of using violence, but no one denies its possibility. One of the key men in the town explains the plan this way: “They realize that if a nigger ever knocks on the schoolhouse door, he’ll get in; there won’t be any battle. Their idea is to stop them from ever going up to the door.” .. . Ronnie Dugger August 3, 1955 Coercion in Rusk Rusk Out here the tree farmers and town merchants and tenants aren’t worried about integration of Negroes and whites in the public schools. The place is thick with pine trees and watermelon patches and the red clay sticks fast to your feet. Everything is moist to the touch; even the pine bark has a spongy feel to it. It’s mighty like the Old South, and you could probably draw yourself a MasonDixon line down the Dallas-Houston highway without violence to fact. “There’s southern blood in my vein,” said E. H. Whitehead, editor and publisher of the weekly Rusk Cherokean. . . . “We’ve got everything under control here.” he said. “There’s not going to be any mixin’ of nigger and white children in East Texas for a long, long time.” Whitehead resolved the Rusk integration problem in a hurry. Early in July, a local Negro barber, Irwin C. Conley, circulated a petition among his people asking the Rusk School Board to comply “in good faith” with the Supreme Court decision on racial segregation in the schools. There were 27 signers of the petition all of them parents of schoolage children. “I led the fight,” said Whitehead. “I went down and picked up that petition and let it get around that I was going to publish all those names. They started dropping off fast. Some of ’em told me they didn’t know what they was signin’. . . . Some N.A.A.C.P. commu THE TEXAS OBSERVER 49