The Union Recorder

Local News

August 26, 2013

Local resident reflects on Civil Rights Movement



"It was just the way things were. We knew it wasn't right, but in the 60s we had to ignore it and just live in a fantasy that this was just the way life was for African-Americans," Wilson said. 

Wilson, who grew up in a segregated education system, witnessed not only discrimination between blacks and whites, but within in her race as well. Because of the negative connotations placed on African-Americans, people with dark pigmentations were often ridiculed by their own kind.

"I can remember being voted Miss Boddie Junior High in the eighth grade and my mom started crying because people were complaining that a dark-skinned girl was on the stage," she said. 

In the 50 years since the march, federal legislation was enacted to guarantee equal accommodations and voting rights for people of all races. 

"I can remember when I was a little girl, my father used to put all of us in his truck and head to the polling office on Hwy 212 to vote, but he got turned around every time," said Wilson. As a child, according to Wilson, she couldn't understand why her father kept trying to do something that white citizens told him he couldn't do. When she became old enough to vote herself, her initial response to the voting process was to not even bother, but she remembered how determined her father was.

"I think he brought us along with him to teach us that what was happening wasn't right and in order for things to be set right, we have to keep pushing and keep trying," she said. 

Wilson can also remember meeting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in person as a teenager. 

"I remember when I was around 15-years-old we went on a field trip to Grant Park in Atlanta to hear him speak and thought his ideas on equality made perfect sense, but I couldn't understand why we weren't seen as equal to whites," she said. 

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