In the segregated, racist 1950’s, most American cities had one or more Colored neighborhoods. These burgs sometimes slid into crime. But others worked hard to keep good commercial, social, and family structures. Places whose citizens took pride in the community and were unashamed to tell people where we lived. The most valuable possession of these ‘villages’ has always been the children. Parents, like their parents, understood the value of teaching children to be strong and do the right thing. We also believed a child belonged to the village and therefore every responsible adult had an obligation to help keep the children on the right path. Citizens of these villages rightfully identified as Colored. Our village offered a rainbow of skin colors...we had red bones, high yellows, spicy browns, tan, black, and some white. Some of us were even white enough to pass...
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Ronald Madison grew up in a “colored” Texas neighborhood during the 40’s and 50’s. His family, like the children of many former slaves, was more white than black. As a result, he experienced life events that only a handful of people will know. He was once yanked by a bus driver from the back of the bus and forced to ride up front! There were times, however, when as a teenager Ronny elected to break the white-only law...by passing for white! Passing was taboo to both white and colored people! “I was ‘colored’ unless I wanted to go to the all-white downtown movie house! ‘Passing’ the first time was terrifying.”
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