Segregated Stairways? (Yes – Fifty Years Ago)

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NINETY-SEVEN. That’s how many stairs African-American movie-goers had to walk up at the Carolina Theater in Durham, North Carolina.  After climbing the stairs and purchasing tickets, they sat in designated balcony seating – the only place they were allowed to sit.     

Then the civil rights movement brought all kinds of changes. In July 1963, the stairway and the seating requirements were desegregated.  

Today, the side entrance to the theater is unmarked. The staircase is nicely carpeted in red with wooden rails. While it is still in use, customers seem to prefer the front entrance stairs and the elevator. The elevator to the second balcony now opens to a permanent exhibit of large, black and white photographs called “Confronting Change.” This display is, perhaps, the Carolina Theater’s self-conscious examination of civil rights history.

 

(Adapted from the article by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan, Feb. 26, 2014.)

http://www.heraldsun.com/news/localnews/x112097487/-Confronting-Change-examines-civil-rights-history-at-Carolina-Theatre

 

Photo source: https://www.google.ca/search?q=segregated+stairways&es_sm=93&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=lSJHU7G_MYnIyAG0wYGICg&ved=0CGAQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=643

 

The First Reconciliation Walk in Canada

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Reconciliation isn’t a physical, visible thing. It happens in our hearts. But an intentional walk by ten thousand people to demonstrate the reality of reconciliation – that’s an example of ‘feet delivering a message’.

The four-kilometre walk through downtown Vancouver in September 2013, followed hearings by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a fact-finding commission set up between the Canadian government, victims of residential school abuse and various churches.

 Bernice King, daughter of the civil rights hero Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was the chosen orator at the beginning of the march.  She outlined her vision that Canada would “be the great nation that it’s called to be.This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action,” She reminded them of her father’s words that human progress was neither automatic nor inevitable. “Every step towards the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle.”  As she spoke about Canada’s destiny she emphasized leadership, action, community and mutuality.

There were further demonstrations: a lighting of a fire of reconciliation before the hearings began and a canoe gathering of all nations.

 http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/09/22/bernice-king-reconciliation-walk_n_3972656.html