Last year I wrote a post titled Black and White. It was about growing up in the 50’s when races were separated. I wrote how as a child I was never aware that separation was wrong. Tonight I am doing an update on the black and white topic. In today’s post, I am a teenager and still in Girl Scouts. That is where I am starting.
As a senior Girl Scout, I could apply to go to the national Round-Up. It was a wonderful event for Scouts. The competition was tough but I was one of the Scouts selected to attend and represent Georgia. I was so excited. As a part of the yearlong training, I met and camped with all the attendees from north Georgia. It was great fun! We had a camping weekend every month. We were divided into patrols and worked together to get ready for our Round-Up in Idaho. There were a few differences in our camping. We stayed outdoors-even in the cold and snow to get ready for our Idaho experience. And we were multi-racial. My partner was black. We all drove to our camping events. No parents ever came. We were teenagers and had council adults to assist us, train us and monitor our training.
The BIG difference happened when we met at the train station in Atlanta. Our parents had never been around. We saw one another and raced into each other’s arms-hugging and laughing. We were going by train to Chicago and then across the United States. It was exciting! That is when I noticed the looks on the faces of some adults. There were a few shocked faces. Why? Well, we were a mixed group. Some black and some white. A few parents made a scene-a big scene. They did not want their daughter to camp with a black Scout. They threatened to pull their Scout from the event. Girls cried. Parents griped because they wanted some separation. Well, we had been together for months. We saw nothing wrong. To the best of my memory, two girls were pulled by their parents. The rest of us got on the train and we left town!
The next few weeks were glorious! I was in a double compartment with 7 other girls-black and white. We immediately began a marathon Canasta game with new folks joining when someone wanted a break. We shared clothes, shoes and makeup. I learned about processed hair. We watched the black girls fix their hair and they watched us. It was a blast! The Round-Up was awesome. The scenery was too beautiful for words. The time flew by.
Before we knew it, we were on the train again coming home. We played Canasta, swapped clothes and talked about everything. When we arrived in Atlanta, our parents were glad to see us. What they saw were a bunch of girls who had lived several weeks together. WE saw nothing different about any of us. We hugged, laughed and cried together as our parents peeled us apart.. There was no black and white. We had lived together, eaten together, exchanged clothes and beds, prayed together. We had solved the world’s problems. WE WERE ONE! Amen.