Living through Segregation 


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For my junior project, I decided to interview my grandfather, Berry Hamilton Sr. When I requested to interview him, he was willing and excited to tell me lots of information. My grandfather lived through and experienced segregation. Segregation is clearly defined as being separated from a different set or group of people. Segregation in the old days, was with blacks and whites. Almost all resturants, restrooms, and water fountains were segregated. There were separate ones for blacks and separate ones for whites. Most of the time, the black facilities were all beaten up and broken. Some causes of segregation were because of slavery. The whites thought they owned the blacks. They thought they could rule them. Because they white man was in charge, the blacks had no rights but to obey and honor them. The nation's general reaction was to follow directions given by those in authority. While interviewing my grandfather, the main thing he kept saying was "we had to obey the signs above the facilities, or else we would get into trouble."


My grandfather, said that one particular time, he had to use the restroom really bad one afternoon. The black restroom, was crowded, but the white one was empty. He went into that one and as soon as he got inside, the door busted open. I was so scared, I stated my grandfather. Another vivid memory is at his job, The kitchen workers would fix their food. He would have to go the back window in order to receive his food, on the other hand, whites could walk right through the front door. He stated, after a while, I started bringing my own food from home, because people can do any and everything to your food, if you are not watching. My grandfather said his first reactions to getting caught were, Lord please help me and I am sorry Lord. As he thought back to the late 50s to the early 60s, he kind of gets angry, but he smiles, because segregation is over, and we are all equal.  

My grandfather coped by talking about what was on his mind. He talked to his older brothers. They encouraged and comforted each other. For emotional and physical support, he turned to his best friend Alvin, the Holy Bible, and God. My grandfather has changed a lot over the years. His thoughts and feelings have changed also. He used to literally bow down to white people. He now views everyone as equal and he only bow down to God up above. If he had to give someone some advice about going through segregation, he would say ì Don't hold everything inside, find someone you can talk to and trust and believe in God.

I believe this interview went like I expected it to. It was very difficult because I didn't have a tape recorder and it was held over the telephone. That caused me to have to do a lot of writing. I learned that segregation was a lot more serious and dangerous as I imagined. People were very mean and hateful against others just because of their skin color. I learned that my grandfather experienced lots of heartache and suffering. He went through hard and rough times. He also got into lots of trouble for being disobedient. If I had to rate my interview, I'd rate it as positive. I learned a lot about segregation that I never knew. I learned some things about my grandfather that I never knew. I had fun doing this interview about segregation with my grandfather!



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 Brown v. Board of Education Issue: Racial Segregation in Public Schools

The Montgomery Bus Boycott

The Civil Rights Movement

 This webpage was created for an English class project my junior year at Brunswick High School-November,2003

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