Black History Then & Now

By: Ryan Dearbone Email
By: Ryan Dearbone Email

"The segregated theaters here in Bowling Green where the African-Americans had to sit in the balcony and not down on the floor with the other whites," Judy Jewell recalled.

Jewell can still remember the harsh days before integration.

"We weren't really treated as equals," she noted.

Although life for African-Americans seems to have improved over the years, race relations are still a dicey subject.

"It has come a long way since the civil rights movement. We have been bestowed with more privileges, but have to deal with issues from that time because it was only 50 or 60 years since that time has passed," said Monica Burke, interim director of Western Kentucky University's Office Of Diversity Programs.

Burke also said racial issues are a generational problem.

"You have to remember people are passing down the same information from 50, 60 or 70 years ago from their parents, when racial prejudice was more prevalent and accepted," Burke said.

The constant distinguishing of being an African-American also impedes growth.

"When someone is accomplishing something, a significant deed it is easy for the media to point out that that person is of color and make that part of the person. Its difficult to be seen as an individual when you are a person of color," Burke said.

Some people may suggest that while the African-American community has come full-circle with people like Barack Obama as a prime example of an African-American whose made it in our society, Burke and Jewell agree that there's only one way equality can be reached.

"Stop looking at race. Look at someones qualities, their abilities. The color barrier has to stop," Jewell said.

For more information on black history, then and now, check out these sites:

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