"Those kind of things hurt." -Abraham Williams, Civil Rights Speaker
"We'd get to different restaurants and they say we're closed; or this must be coon night, because you all can't come in. Those kind of things hurt." said an emotional Abraham Williams as he described his past.
Williams grew up in the state of Alabama during some of the most heated civil rights years in our nation's history. Wednesday he shared some of his toughest trials with students at Bowling Green High School by putting them in the position he was in, not all that long ago.
"It just kind of opened my eyes to how it used to be. We learn about it in class, but it's different to hear from someone who was actually there." commented BGHS senior, Ben Peterson.
Dr. Saundra Ardrey of the WKU political science department was refused a ride on an elevator at the Washington Monument in 1963, but years later when the Martin Luther King Monument was unveiled, she had a very different experience in the same area.
"I'm sitting in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. monument watching an African-American President, with his family give the speech. For me, that was an affirmation that I'm living the dream."
Though both agree that civil rights have come a long way in America, Williams says to this day, even in the commonwealth, discrimination exists.
"Racism isn't anything but racism. Whether it is overt or it is hidden. It is just as bad in Kentucky as it is in Alabama. It's just done differently."
Williams says change is still needed in our communities or conversations on discrimination will carry on forever.