The Atlanta Lawyer October 2014 - Page 4

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE “ REMEMBERING THE 1960s By Jacquelyn H. Saylor The Saylor Law Firm LLP “I tried to be aware of the challenges faced by not only African-Americans, but by the economically disadvantaged, the plights faced by underpaid workers, and even the similar struggles faced by women.” B y now you probably know that 2014 is the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. You know about many of the civil rights icons who risked their lives and limbs to work toward basic rights for their fellow human beings, primarily African-Americans, who had long been denied them. But what do you know about those of us who grew up white in the Deep South in segregated schools during the time that much of the civil rights movement was taking place. Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia: all places where I lived in the fifties and sixties. What was our journey? integration and segregation, that I heard so much on the evening news. I remember the reaction of one of my relatives who was not pleased with the efforts to desegregate his alma mater, The University of Mississippi. There were “Impeach Earl Warren” signs across the South, referring to the Supreme Court Justice whose pro integration rulings caused him to be a lightening rod to those who disagreed with him. Looking back, I realize how brave our principal was to have another Supreme Court Justice, William O. Douglas, speak at commencement one year and how honored I was to serve Justice Douglas punch at the reception. I remember the separate water fountains, separate waiting rooms and separate seating as my family or young cousins and I sometime travelled by bus and train to see our relatives across the South. I regularly travelled by bus to Birmingham, Alabama from Decatur, Georgia when Birmingham’s Bull Conner was confronting civil rights protesters with strong fireman’s hoses and fierce German Shepherds. It is sometime hard to distinguish between what I saw on TV and what I witnessed in person since I was only an observer. Fortunately, as a young child I was not taught to be prejudiced toward others because of race. We made twice weekly visits to church where we were taught the story of the Good Samaritan, the hero who saved the injured traveler along the dangerous road even though his people were reviled by others. We grew up singing songs such as “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.” We sang that song with the children of factory workers in Cabbagetown where we taught Sunday School and acceptance of others different from ourselves. I remember trying to distinguish the meaning of the words, 4 THE ATLANTA LAWYER October 2014 The Official News Publication of the Atlanta Bar Association