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My parents came from the south, my mother (Church of the Brethren, similar to Amish/Mennonite) from Virginia and my father (by heredity only, Episcopalian) from Washington, D.C., and both from cultures habituated to blacks staying in the background and remaining deferential to all whites.

My father retired (37 years in the Navy) to Vermont and I grew up there in the '30s, with no experiennce of other cultures or races. It was so far North that even our railroad stations didn't have the usual labels for "white only" and "colored" for water fountains and our restrooms were only divided between men and women.

After WW II in '47, discharged from the army, I worked in Washington, D.C. for a couple years before going back to college and roomed at the YMCA. During that time, some blacks came to the Y lunch counter to test being served--and were refused. I thought--at the time --(now shamefully) 'how audacious and uppity of them.'

Soon after, I went to the University of Missouri (segregated) and became actively involved with the Episcopal church and it's human rights/black equality agenda, making interchanges with black colleges, and spent 2 summers working with former sharecroppers in Missouri's Bootheel, all of which changed and formed my view on race an culture.

Then I went to the U of Fla for my PhD, a segregated school (they had a token admission of a black to the law school a few years earlier). I joined in the local marches to encourage the reality of "all men are created equal". My internship year, I went to Missippipi -- there I saw blacks denied admission to their local pulblic libraries as well as many other tax supported entities.

In the '60s, in Kansas, I joined marches for civil rights for all races.

Tonight, I'm immensely pleased -- to be an American, to see how much farther along the scale we've come, yet at the same time to realize we're not fully there.

We are not there, yet -- and never will be.... to completely eliminate all biases.

But now it is, at last, wonderfully possible to think of a time when we'll sometimes better judge people independently of their color, gender, sexual orientations, show biz appeal, etc., and more on their essential characteristics.

I'm absolutely ecstacic at the Obama presidency.

His presidency cannot possibly live anywhere up to to hopes and hype surrounding it..... but it's a great further step and milestone.
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