I read “A March Through Civil Rights History” in the Princeton Journeys supplement (distributed with the September issue) with great interest since I participated in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march and two years later worked as the special assistant to the president of Miles College, a Black college just outside Birmingham. I spent almost two years in that role, and, as a young white man, I enjoyed being introduced to both Black and white audiences as the “house honkey in the administration” by the Black president of the college. During my time at Miles, I experienced many disturbing events due to the overt bigotry and racism that were so prevalent in the South at the time, both in Birmingham and in rural Wilcox County, just west of Selma. For example, three of us — my ex-wife and I and a Black colleague — were asked to leave the local Episcopal church by the head usher, even before the service began. When I crossed the town square to meet a Black colleague of mine in Camden, the county seat of Wilcox County, good ole’ boys with shotguns started towards us from all four sides of the square. My colleague and I decided to meet elsewhere. Other incidents like these happened on a weekly basis. My time there was a fascinating, disturbing, and maturing experience, and one I will never forget. I only wish I could have been part of the recent Princeton civil rights history march.
In Response to: General Letters About the Magazine