In contrast, in the summer of 1964, I was living in central Michigan, taking a few classes toward a MA in education and mostly oblivious to what was going on in the South. I was also preparing for my wedding in August.
Sometime today, I read about someone who was the first to integrate a southern zoo. This hit closer to home. I have always loved to visit the soon. The Detroit Zoo was a special trip when I was child. Then when I had my two daughters, trips to the Saginaw (MI) Zoo and then Maymont Park in Richmond, VA., were favorites. It had never dawned on me that zoos would be places that black families did not get to enjoy.
This started me thinking about the resiliency of black parents, who were not able to share so many forms of entertainment with their children. No weekly trips to the library, no Cokes for a shopping break at the local lunch counter, no swimming at the public pool on a hot summer day, or trips to the beach, unless there was a black beach.
It wasn’t just the well-known heroes who were resilient, ordinary moms and dads were being resilient every day. Knowing their children were not able to enjoy these treats must have hurt them deeply.
-- by Marcia Slosser