Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Bob Project - 3

If you haven't read the Introduction for The Bob Project, I recommend that you begin there.

Sentences:  Mary reads well.  Bob reads better than Mary.  Jack reads best of all.

Over a period of three summers in the mid-1990s, the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University conducted interviews with more than 1200 Black men and women who had lived many decades of their lives under Jim Crow segregation.  Of those interviews, 410 have been digitized and are available on the internet.  I looked at a transcript of the interview with Willie Ann Lucas, a midwife and a teacher, who said:
[M]y husband went in World War II, and he was a mail clerk. When he got out of service, he came here and he took the exam. They had open exam at the post office. He went down and he took the exam. Veterans supposed to have had first preference. He made the highest mark of anybody who took the exam, and they didn't hire him because he was black.
Discrimination based upon race was of course entirely legal in the 1950s and before.  Indeed, Black employees had been purged from government jobs exclusively on the basis of their race under President Wilson.  Meanwhile, so-called "literacy" tests were utilized to strip Black men and women of their voting rights.  And again, just for emphasis, all of this was going on when America was "great." 

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