McClain | Arkansas news, politics, opinion, restaurants, music, movies and art

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Re: “Elaine's history resurfaces in a documentary

Very interesting comments indeed. It always fascinates me looking into others insight and im always grateful to be able to see and understand everyone's point of view. Some things are consistent, some things are undeniable, some are hard to fathom but all are with those who see things differently.....Growing up in and around Elaine back in the 60's and 70's was frought with an unending fear of never getting out or "never leaving" for me. I was taken there when i was about 6 years old from Lundell, Ark. Going to live with my mom, stepdad and 4 siblings, Easter, Jimmy, Calvin and Carla. I myself have vivid memories of my time there. But one of the things I DO NOT remember is a sense of "bitter racism." Racism, yes. Bitter, no. Let me explain. It was always a sense of "we knew our place." We didn't venture far from the "quarters." We knew which places we were allowed to go to and which ones not to go to. For example, my grandma Lottie worked in a restaurant on the main street in downtown, but when we went to visit her there we'd have to go through the back entrance. We knew we shouldn't go through the front door(one day I did go through the front door but as to what happened, that's another post) although there was no sign directing us which way to go. We just knew... Looking back on my time there as a child I feel a sense of "now I know why the town was the way it was." It seems the generational change forced a code of silence about Elaine's dark history. It's as if my generation, both black and white, lived and interacted without ever knowing what had really happened in our small town. I'm left wondering who knew what, and who around me knew and didn't say anything about the race riot. After I learned about it years ago I still didn't feel like it was something anyone was "covering up." It was just never spoken of, never mentioned in school, never written in any of our black history books in school. Nothing was ever mentioned at all! After our schools integrated in the late 60's I, for one, never felt threatened or uneasy fellowshipping with my white counterparts. And to this day I am still friends with a great many of them. I truly love and adore the people who grew up with me, who helped nurture me, who supported me when some of my own people wouldn't. I've often said "I don't know where i'd be" if it hadn't been for several "white people" taking an interest in me, guiding me and helping me reach my God given potential. I'm a living testimony that you never know who God is sending to help, what Angel he's assigned to you....I could go on and on but I'll leave you here. Just wanted to provide another perspective on how I saw my life, living in Elaine knowing my parents lived through the Civil Rights era and knowing my grandparents were victims of the "labor injustice" that led to the tragic events there. I knew my ancestors had been affected but to what degree I had no idea. My mom and grandparents shared stories about "getting their land stolen" but i never knew the depth of their consternation or really understood the impact of their words and what they were trying to convey. In closing I'll also add I do consider the Pickett family of Elaine my life long friends and admittedly agree that there is a merit of truth to sometimes letting parts of our past rest. But I also see the other point of view where some would want to remember and bring it to the forefront. To that end I'm left with the question of "does it make a difference if you lived there or not?" Seems it does...

5 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by McClain on 11/19/2017 at 8:03 PM


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