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The Wall: 1941

The Wall: 1941

August 1941. "Negro children standing in front of half-mile concrete wall, Detroit, Michigan. This wall was built in August 1941 to separate the Negro section from a white housing development going up on the other side." Acetate negative by John Vachon. View full size.


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Brings back memories

I grew up seven miles from this wall, on the white Macomb County side. It was a very racially prejudiced place! People talk about the South being bad but I don't know how it could have been any worse than metropolitan Detroit in the 1960s-70s.

Even as late as 2001, when I sold the house I'd grown up in, a neighbor threatened me with bodily harm if I sold it to black people. (I didn't have the heart to tell the man that my parents had given the side-eye to his Pakistani wife, whom they deemed "too dark" to live in the neighborhood.) A mixed-race couple ended up buying the house and I hope that nasty old bigot didn't spoil the experience of buying their first home together.

One race: human!

Beautiful Children

I love the joy and lightness in their eyes -- brings sunlight into my heart.

These sweet faces

I spent 30 years in classrooms and gyms teaching (and learning from) kids like this who brightened each and every day for me. I'm retired now and miss kids dearly (though not the paperwork and nonsense that comes with the job).

And I'm old enough to remember when the building I first taught in was a high school that enrolled kids from several towns in the eastern portion of the Houston metro area because their own districts wouldn't provide a place for them.

Thank you, Dave, for posting this picture. It brought me a smile and close to tears.

The Wall

The people who lived on the other side of that wall didn't think that these beautiful children of God mattered. What has changed in 79 years?

New look

The wall still stands, mostly because it would be a pain to take it down, but now it's just a backyard wall. Some sections have been repurposed as murals, like the one below showing Rosa Parks catching the bus.

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