The kids on Haviland Drive integrated Harlan Elementary long before busing was mandated in my small hometown of Florence AL. The concept that my behavior was a reflection of my family was stressed and understood by me from a young age…and while I don’t remember a direct conversation, I somehow knew that, to my white teachers and classmates, I represented how Negro children behaved.

Pretty heavy stuff for a third-grader…

“Don’t embarrass me in front of these white folks.” ~ Black Mother Saying

Inhale Represent, Exhale Embarrass…
Inhale Reflection, Exhale Separation…
Inhale Respect, Exhale Disgrace…
Just Breathe


2 thoughts on “Representing”

    1. Wow Judy! I didn’t know that! Even though I had my first experiences with racism at Harlan, I remember the kids in Mrs. Van Pelt’s class being more curious than anything. It’s something I’m determined to write about. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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