All the blackface stories have brought back memories from my childhood in Easton, Maryland.
Easton was a segregated town of about 5,000 people where my father was chosen in an uncontested special election as President of the Town Council when his predecessor resigned.
As I walked the couple of blocks to my elementary school from 212 South Aurora Street I could see a black neighborhood on my right.
I wondered where they went to school.
One night my family attended an Elks Club variety show at the Armory. (An earlier article in which I mentioned this called it a ‘minstral show”.)
I figure that as an elected official with an office downtown, my father got pressured into buying tickets.
One of the acts were guys in blackface.
It was so strange (actually ridiculous) that it is the only thing I remember from the show.
That was 65-70 years ago. I would have been in first through fourth grade.
My only contact with what were then called “colored people” was the daughter of my mother’s cleaning lady.
We pushed each other on the awesome swing that my father built.
We moved to Salt Lake City in 1953 before the U.S. Supreme Court ordered desegregation.
Talbot County’s school system (the schools were under the County Board) decided to comply with the edict by integrating one grade a year starting with first grade.
(There was no public kindergarten. My little sister went to a private school for that.)
Reading Life Magazine one week in Utah, I saw a photo of the front of the school with news that a small bomb had been set off at the back door, where the first and second grade pupils entered.
An indication that someone didn’t approve of integrating the schools.
Today, we have Ralph Northam, the Democratic Party Governor of Virginia, under pressure to resign, because on his school yearbook page there are students in blackface and a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood.
The Secretary of State appointed by Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis just resigned because a photo of him in blackface showed up.
There are calls for Virginia’s Governor to resign.
He now is claiming that he not one of the two beer drinkers in the photo.
If he does resign, however, there will be irony at work.
His Lieutenant Govenror is a black man.