It’s the latest trend.
Everybody does it.
Informed people accept it.
Statistics show that our society approves.
That’s the way things are.
That seems to be the standard progression of our behavior as humans. I often think those thoughts when I watch television commercials or listen to young women curse or count the tattoos on the person next to me in line at the grocery store. I’m sure many of you remember when bra commercials showed a bra over a sweater, on a mannequin. Now we have VS “shows” that are simply acceptable pornography. I don’t recall any of the women in my life saying more than “hell” or “damn” and men often apologized for saying either in the company of women or children. Now I hear the most foul words imaginable uttered calmly, casually, and often by men, women, and children. Tatoos were once the badge of courage and/or boredom that adorned sailors and circus attractions. I can remember paying a quarter at the fair to see the “tattooed lady”. Now I can see them every day for free at my local Walmart! Yes, two of my children have tattoos, and no I don’t find anything inherently wrong with the practice, except the cost. I do question why some people seem to have enough money for tattoos, but not enough money to properly feed and clothe their children. But that is a blog for another day.
Unfortunately that same progression of action and societal tolerance applies to some bigger issues like drugs and alcohol and violence. We only have to see people lined up at Colorado stores to buy legal marijuana to understand that concept. However, we have made some pretty big mistakes in the past that were accepted by the majority of society, for which we now pay penance.
My fascination with the history of our little community has made me aware of some of the horrible racial practices of our past that were once acknowledged and accepted even by Christians, local leaders, and the law.
August 4, 1899
Tuesday a carload of Negroes from West Virginia arrived at Coalgate where they will be placed in the mines of the Southwestern Coal Company. This brings their working force of Negroes up to about 125 and there are said to be 100 more on the way for the same company.
August 15, 1911
A warning to all negroes to leave this town was posted here late Monday following the capture and killing of the negro who on Saturday attacked Mrs. L. R. Campbell of Durant, Okla. During the day there were many reports of clashes between whites and blacks, but none have been verified. The notice, which allows the negroes until next Saturday to leave, is signed: KADDO KLAN- Our motto is a clean town. Password: We Do. (Caddo had over 80 KKK members.)
The negro who attacked Mrs. Campbell, later causing her death, and whose body was burned at Durant, is believed to have lived here. That fact caused the disturbance Monday. It is said the negroes here will ask Governor Cruce for protection.
April 4, 1913
The Music Club has made arrangements with Mr. F. E. Papden, of Dallas, to put on a Ladies Minstrel Show. Twenty-five ladies of Caddo will don burnt cork and sing, dance, etc.
January 28, 1916
A resolution was passed requesting the school trustees to call an election of the question of whether or not they shall sell the old negro school building which has not been used for the past five years. The money will be applied toward building sidewalks to the new school building. The old building is useless because there are no negroes here to use it.
August 13, 1920
Cemetery Needs Room
The Civic Club is up against the proposition of (needing) more room for the cemetery. Those familiar with the circumstances will recall that a part of the plot set apart by the Townsite Commission for this purpose contained what is known as the “potter’s field” where are mostly negroes; some of the plot lies to the north of this. The original plot and 2 new additions are full.
October 27, 1922
Ku Klux Visit the Nazarene Meeting
Sunday night fourteen robed members of the Ku Klux Klan visited the Nazarene meeting, giving the Hudsons $15 in money and a letter to read, asking to be dismissed with prayer. In the letter several significant statements were made, these being the most prominent:
“The day has passed when the husband whips his wife; or the alley rats make unkind remarks about our wives, mothers, sisters and friends; the bootlegger must go; and you who make a habit of disturbing public worship, beware; our eyes are upon you.”
If Klansmen were not good men they could not subscribe to such good principles.
The actions of our past make me question which of our current practices we will regret in the future.