Tag Archive: integration


I’ve made it a point to live in a few cities which were unkind to my black American slavery ancestors, partly due to my years as a radio disc jockey and lately, just because we can now. The latest was in Virginia, the state which, ironically, is the setting for the 2016 movie, “Loving”, which I recently rented from the public library after seeing the trailer prior to a different film.

Directed by Jeff Nichols, this isn’t just a romance story as its title might suggest. The Lovings and this “Commonwealth” state were the centerpiece for a landmark US Supreme Court case, Loving v Virginia and the 1967 decision which erased laws that made interracial marriages criminally illegal in the United States. I didn’t know this – or probably forgot the nuances of that high school American history lesson – until watching this movie revived those facts. This was going on while I was a young teen growing up in New York City where everybody went steady with anybody you liked! Wow. Scary.

“I’m pregnant” are the first words uttered by Mildred, played by Ruth Negga (interesting surname for this type of story, don’t you think?) to which Richard Loving, played by Joel Edgerton (famous for his role in “Black Mass”) replied, “Good. That’s real good.” The progress of the story tries your patience to get into, but is worth the wait. It could be categorized a docu-drama and used as a teaching tool!

All through the film, I kept asking, “who ratted them out?” Getting rousted out of bed in the middle of the night and offed to jail by the mean ole KKK-ish sheriff, played to the hilt by Marton Csokas (“Noah”, “The Equalizer”, “Aeon Flux”), cold southern drawl and all. “That’s no good here..” – pretty good for a New Zelander – just for being in love. They even threw Mildred in jail while pregnant and in her bath robe! One thing that hasn’t changed to this day is a woman getting pregnant out of wedlock, I noticed. Richard didn’t hesitate to ‘make an honest woman’ out of Ruth, however. You’ll see some slightly amusing “city-country-city” cultural moments among the uncomfortable heartbreak.

This is a reminder of many shameful episodes of America’s racial integration past, the vestiges of which some among us still struggle to eradicate. Watching it conjured emotions of anger, sadness and resolute hope deep inside. I couldn’t help wondering if this is why Virginia gives me a kind of weird vibe sometimes; like suppressed parsimony is in its soil.

During the end credits, they show photos of the original couple portrayed and I cheered the Casting Director, Francine Maisler.

I feel this film with four stars and can’t help wondering how the Supreme Court would have ruled if the man was a black American and the woman Caucasian; would it have even gotten the same attention and to the Chief Justices?

Pickhit: Thank you to WordPress for noticing that this is the date of my 10th anniversary here. Thank you, dear reader for reading my words!

As I walk to the bus stop,
Wait a minute, “walk” to the bus stop??
Oh, yes, I’m back around the old neighborhood;
‘Sold my old car to get here and create money momentum!
So as not to go “under”;
I feel I am a failure.

So…As I walk to the bus stop, each house on every block
Has a story or evokes a stored memory;
Which I can’t quite remember as I pass,
Nor will I when I return.
Spookily haunting is the past like that,
In a way I am amused by.

A girl I liked in that one,
Some tough bully kid in the next;
A friendly, now older gent still working his garage I see.
A crazy memory here,
Whip Appeal crush there.
It all a blur now.

Then I pass the park where I played
So much punch and stick-ball.
Where I diligently trained to become the next Oscar Robertson!
The former Haggerty, then “Jamaica” Park
Who knows what they’ve named it nowadays;
I did not notice a NYC Parks Department sign.
Only that they reconfigured all of the hoops courts where the softball outfield
Used to be, OMG! Weird!
Now Mexican-looking guys play cards where the Home Plate was,
When I pitched an underhand softball No-hitter,
While the girls-to-impress of the day,
Eye us from the now-gone metal-chained swings area.

Now I’ve caught the Q110.
Riding, bumping, rolling down the Avenue;
Old movie theatre marquee where I saw “Bonnie and Clyde” first-run is gone!
It is now another church?
That old sandstone brick bank building is now a DENTAL Center??
Where is Eddie’s original old “African-American” barber shop?
Is this “progress”?
I notice their absence and ask myself,
“What happened to the Caucasian Europeans and Black Americans?”
I maybe know the common answer to that but,
We were supposed to have integrated our great city and society.
This looks/sounds like I “returned” to a Third World country!

Now thicker into the ole “Valencia” shopping district,
I think the islanders took “Jamaica Avenue” too literally!
I know that this is historically the number-ONE immigrant town,
Now though, it is troubling to see here it is mostly brown!
Why, against my vision of the cross-pollination,
I said to Mum who was smiling as I walked up to the front porch;
Do humans behave contrary to the way
Our Creator and Heavenly Father planned,
Can’t we be more like the bee
Which takes pollen from flowers of any color,
Producing honey for all indiscriminately?

Did we again in this area and probably many others,
Choose American-style re-segregation?
It seems that the whole Caribbean and middle east,
Relocated to New York City over the past 20 years!
And they aren’t following the “rules” we used have to.
Driving on the road like “koo-koo”!

The only music around the way that is the same,
Is that of the Mister Softee ice cream truck.

“Stop Requested”…

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