Civil Rights

March 28, 1971 – The Most Violent Day in Ocean Beach History

March 27, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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44th Anniversary of Collier Park Riot Spurs Comparisons

The hour was getting late at the meeting of the Ocean Beach Town Council Board of Directors. It was January 21st in the year 1971 – 44 years ago. The hour was getting late but the meeting was lively as the topic was hot.

The subject was whether the City of San Diego would sell off to developers a large portion of land in northeast Ocean Beach called “Collier West” – so named because it was the western section of a much larger piece of property donated to the public by David C Collier – the “Father of Ocean Beach”.

A older male member of the Board was getting agitated – he started to shake as he half stood up to speak. It was Ray Perine, a slightly balding middle-aged and well-known grassroots activist. Not a radical by any means, Ray cleared his throat.

“If any apartments are built in Collier West, by god,” he said, “the town will rise up and get rid of them!”

Other Board members were somewhat shocked by his tone – while others smiled and applauded. OB Rag reporters were present and recorded what happened and what was said.

There was clearly widespread opposition among local residents and property owners to any sale of the land for apartments and Perine was expressing this commonly-share sentiment among locals. But Perine wasn’t anticipating exactly what happened, for the town, the village of Ocean Beach did rise up – just 5 weeks later.

On March 28th – in the middle of a campaign to “Save Collier Park” by local Ocean Beach environmentalists, other grassroots activists and members of the OB Rag staff – the anti-Vietnam War movement rolled into town and staged a large teach-in and demonstration down at the beach in OB.

It was 1971 – the early Seventies – and the War that had torn the country apart over the last half dozen years was still raging – it wouldn’t end for another 4 years in 1975.

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Donna Frye: An Ode to Open Government – ‘Let the Sun Shine In’

March 26, 2015 by Source
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By Donna Frye

This past week, March 15 – 21, the annual celebration called Sunshine Week took place throughout the nation. It was started over 10 years ago by the American Society of News Editors, with its goal being to –

“enlighten and empower people to play an active role in their government at all levels, and to give them access to information that makes their lives better and their communities stronger.”

From news organizations large and small, the public learned about Sunshine Week and why open government matters. The Des Moines Register ran a series of editorials, guest views and features on the importance of open government. The Washington Post encouraged us to “think about how the federal government can be more open to the public” as they checked “on recent efforts to increase transparency.”And the Sioux Falls Business Journal noted in their headline that “every week should be Sunshine Week in S.D.”

I agree, but it’s too bad that headline was about South Dakota and not San Diego. For the most part, Sunshine Week in San Diego came and went, and almost no local newspapers or media took any notice. Their silence was deafening.

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Midway Area Gets a “Legal” Pot Dispensary

March 25, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The Point Loma Peninsula has a pot shop! The San Diego Planning Commission on March 19th voted 4 to 2 to approve a medical marijuana dispensary in the Midway area of the Point.

The Point Loma Patients Cooperative is the 4th such dispensary to be allowed under San Diego’s stringent requirements. It’s located at 3452 Hancock Street.

The other dispensaries allowed include an Otay Mesa storefront that just opened last week, and 2 more – one in San Ysidro and the other in Kearny Mesa. Both are are expected to open this spring. Allegedly, the City is supposed to allow a total of 36 dispensaries within city boundaries.

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Public Memorial Celebration at Petco Park for Hodad’s Mike Hardin

March 24, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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This Saturday, March 28th, a public memorial and celebration of Mike Hardin’s life will be held at Petco’s “Park in the Park”. Hardin is mostly associated with his infamous Hodad’s OB burger joint.

His eatery was showcased on national television foodie shows, such as the features on the popular TV show, “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” hosted by Guy Fieri.

Hardin died of a heart attack in early February.

The “Celebration of Life” event at Petco Park’s Park in the Park in downtown San Diego runs from 11:11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

Saturday’s tribute is being organized by Hardin’s family, employees and friends. The pubic is invited – it’s free to attend and, according to organizers, “open to everyone who ever knew Mike or knew his burgers.”

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San Diego Cops and the OB Rag Finally Agree on Something

March 24, 2015 by Source
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“OB Time” Sees Common Appreciation of Homeless

By the Old OB Hippie

Yup, that’s right. San Diego cops and the OB Rag finally agree on something. And it has to do with the homeless and how things keep getting repeated.

At a recent Ocean Beach Town Council meeting, two high-ranking police officers were seen and overheard shaking hands and speaking with Frank Gormlie, editordude of the OB Rag, back at the rear of the large room at the Masonic Center before the meeting began.

It turns out, the officers were thanking the Rag for publishing an article about how “good citizens” complained about the hippies back in 1968 and their “aggressive panhandling” and “public urination” – which had then been updated and re-worded; everywhere “hippie” was written in the article, “homeless” was substituted in.

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Witnesses and Photos Sought of Ocean Beach’s ‘Most Violent Day’ in History

March 23, 2015 by Frank Gormlie

OB Collier-Pk-riot-2-edIt’s coming up on the 44th anniversary of the most violent day in the history of Ocean Beach – the March 28, 1971 Collier Park Riot. After San Diego police charged a peaceful gathering of hundreds of OBceans, young people and students, street fighting between cops and civilians broke out – and for hours a riot raged in north OB, from what today is Collier Park, all the way to the beach, about a mile.

It was the day that Ocean Beach was – in a real sense – like Ferguson, Missouri.

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San Diego Finally Allows 1st “Legal” Pot Shop 19 Years After California Voters Passed Measure

March 20, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The City of San Diego has finally allowed the opening of the City’s very first medical marijuana dispensary. (NBC7 )

This opening of the first “legal” pot shop in San Diego comes 19 years after California voters passed Prop 215, making medical marijuana legal.

And the County of San Diego has only allowed one dispensary to open to date – a storefront opened last summer in an unincorporated area outside El Cajon.

The shameful history of nearly 2 decades for both the City and County of San Diego that viewed together initiated delays, stalls, and outright resistance to the spirit of Prop 215, stands in deep contrast to the wishes of the state’s voters.

On this issue at least, the implementation of the medical marijuana law, our local governments have been very undemocratic as they have quite openly stymied what the voters, the people, wanted.

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Federal Report on San Diego Police: Mediocre on Criticism – Light on Sanctions

March 18, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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DOJ Report Fails to Address Racial Profiling by San Diego Cops

A Federal report on the San Diego Police Department was just released Tuesday, March 17th, taking the Department to task on a lack of accountability for officer misconduct and a lack of adequate supervision of officers, while making 40 recommendations for improvement.

But significantly, the Department of Justice report does not address the serious claims that other recent reports have made about how the San Diego Police Department in fact practices racial profiling in its stops and searches of motorists, as well as in its shootings of civilians.

Overall, then, the Federal report is mediocre in its criticisms of the Department and light on its sanctions. No one person or officer is brought to account. No one is punished. No heads are rolling. The officer misconduct is not much more than a few bad apples tarring the reputation of a great, even “progressive” police department.

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Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 5

March 18, 2015 by John Lawrence

Chris Tse via Flickr

Talking About Capitalism and Climate Change

By Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

In a title not usually expected at a scientific conference, University of California San Diego geophysicist Dr. Brad Werner presented a paper entitled Is the Earth Fucked? at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in December 2012.

Dr. Werner explained that the title represented the expression of depression by scientists working in the field of the public’s inability to respond to what scientists are telling them about global warming.

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The Rep’s Oedipus El Rey: A Greek Classic Meets Chicano Mysticism

March 18, 2015 by Doug Porter

Photo: Daren Scott

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

We are fortunate to live in a city where theater and the performing arts flourish. San Diego’s offerings are enriched by companies large and small; those that hew to tradition and those willing to stretch the limits of artistic expression.

The San Diego Repertory Theatre has been at it for nearly four decades, “promoting a more inclusive community through work that nourishes progressive and social values.” The current production of Oedipus El Rey speaks to those values through a modern day adaptation of Sophocles’ classic Greek drama, first performed in 429 B.C.

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What We Lose with a Privatized Postal Service

March 17, 2015 by Source

zzpostofficeAmerica’s founders recognized that commerce requires a common infrastructure.

By Katherine McFate / Other Words

Did you know that when you ship a package through Federal Express, the U.S. Postal Service often carries it the last mile?

Last year, the Postal Service delivered 1.4 billion packages for FedEx and UPS. In fact, it delivers the last mile for almost a third of FedEx packages. The 618,000 Postal Service workers also delivered nearly 66 billion pieces of first-class mail — that’s more than 100,000 pieces per carrier.

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More On Civic San Diego: The Push-Back Begins and Just Who Are the Stakeholders?

March 17, 2015 by Source
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Editor: Our online media partner, the San Diego Free Press, has of late been shining a spotlight on Civic San Diego. In doing so, it has been providing much needed observation, commentary and discussion on the activities of this separate organization, a nonprofit that is unaccountable to the voters of the city, but that is in charge, apparently, of San Diego’s future.

Here inside is Doug Porter’s Pushback on Civic San Diego Accountability: Here Comes the “Uncertainty” Ploy published on March 16th and Anna Daniels’ Civic San Diego and Its Stakeholders published today, March 17th.

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San Diegans Mobilize for Government Action on Climate Change

March 16, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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On a hot afternoon last Sunday, March 15th, 250 San Diegans rallied and marched – and called on the US government to act on the climate change crisis.

About 150 demonstrators had gathered by 2 pm at the San Diego Civic Center Plaza, as the band the Swamp Critters encouraged them through song to come out and protest. Organized by a loose coalition that involved OB’s People’s Food Store Cooperative and the OB Green Store, as well as the Sierra Club,, and a couple of Democratic clubs – from Pt Loma and La Jolla, the protest was part of a series the coalition plans leading up to next November.

After a few speakers, the group pushed out of the Plaza, down 3rd Avenue and Broadway, taking the short walk in the streets to the Federal Building. A few police cars escorted the peaceful march the few blocks that then gathered for a second rally. Once in the shade of the massive Federal Building, another band welcomed the crowd. A dozen people got up and danced to the music of Captain Viejo before a few more speakers thanked and exhorted those present to continue the struggle.

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San Diego’s Climate Mobilization – Sunday March 15th

March 13, 2015 by Source
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San Diego organizers are planning a “People’s Climate Walk and Rally for Mobilization” this Sunday, March 15th. And local OBceans are playing an important role in the event. In concert with demonstrations and rallies across the country, it is –

“a call to the United States Government to immediately commence a national World War II-style mobilization to transition the U.S. from fossil fuels to sustainable energy, including solar, wind and water.”

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Excuse us as the OB Rag staff returns from our Borrego R and R

March 12, 2015 by Frank Gormlie

The OB Rag staff is just returning from a wonderful R & R out in Borrego Springs. We have to apologize to our readers as we didn’t warn anyone that we would not be publishing for several days. Okay, we’re back and we’ll share some of our pics of the desert flowers and the “Sky […]

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Ocean Beach: Support Your Community Plan – Go Vote on Tuesday, March 10

March 6, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Early next week, OBceans have a chance to show their support for the Ocean Beach Community Plan, a document that represents the blueprint for development and public facilities in OB, a plan that has been in existence for nearly 40 years, recently updated – and that has weathered an attack by the influential San Diego Planning Commission.

If you’ve followed the the twists and turns of the Community Plan Update process of last year, then you know of what I speak.

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Obama Task Force Calls for Significant Changes to Policing in America

March 5, 2015 by Source

Report recommends that law enforcement report shootings and other incidents of police brutality to federal government


By Lauren McCauley/ Common Dreams

Rights groups and others are welcoming the release of a report by the president’s policing task force on Monday, saying that the policy recommendations are the best chance the White House has for improving the relationship between law enforcement agencies and the communities they are meant to protect and serve.

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Darren Wilson Cleared While Racial Bias Found in Ferguson Police Traffic Stops

March 4, 2015 by Source
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Darren Wilson Is Cleared of Rights Violations in Ferguson Shooting

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has cleared a Ferguson, Mo., police officer of civil rights violations in the shooting of Michael Brown, a black teenager whose death set off racially charged and sometimes violent protests last year. The decision, which was announced on Wednesday, ends a lengthy investigation into the shooting last August, in which Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Mr. Brown in the street. Many witnesses said Mr. Brown had his hands up in surrender when he died, leading to nationwide protest chants of “Hands up, don’t shoot.” … MORE INSIDE …

Justice Department to Fault Ferguson Police, Seeing Racial Bias in Traffic Stops

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has nearly completed a highly critical report accusing the police in Ferguson, Mo., of making discriminatory traffic stops of African-Americans that created years of racial animosity leading up to an officer’s shooting of a black teenager last summer, law enforcement officials said. … MORE INSIDE …

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The Viral Video of LA Cops Shooting Homeless Man

March 3, 2015 by Source
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Here’s the video that has gone viral of Los Angeles police officers firing 5 shots at a homeless man. It definitely has gone viral. When we first watched it on Sunday afternoon, it had 2 million viewers already after being posted only about an hour and a half. Anthony Blackburn originally posted the video on youtube.


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Snow in Lagunas From Lakeside

March 3, 2015 by Patty Jones
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Check out this fabulous view of snow in Mt Lagunas – taken from the parking lot of where Patty Jones – the tech girl for the OB Rag – works in Lakeside.

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Joining Spirit with the Billions of Us Human Beings

March 2, 2015 by Ernie McCray
[caption id="attachment_123238" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Lao Tzu humanity quote (Image: Flickr – Hartwig HKD)[/caption]

By Ernie McCray

I was driving and turned my radio to 89.5, KPBS, and there was a conversation going on about “7 Billion Others,” an exhibit that’s opening in the U.S. for the first time – at San Diego’s Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA): February 21 to September 13.

I liked what I was hearing and googled around and found, on the MOPA website, 45 questions written for visitors to the exhibit to answer so that they can find in themselves that spark that resides in us all and connects us to the journey of human beings featured in the video project.

My answer to the first question was: Ernest Charles McCray; age 76; retired school principal; widower; American as in United States of America.

Here are my replies to the other questions, based on what first came to my mind:

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Officer Surwilo Gives ‘the Other Side of the Story’ About Jimmy Maroutis and the Police

February 27, 2015 by Source

By Lois Lane

On Wednesday February 25, Community Relations Officer David Surwilo made his usual presentation of “what’s new” at the OB Town Council meeting.

Always charming and disarming, this time he had a complaint instead of answering them:

The OB Rag had not fairly represented what happened on February 14 when it announced that a well- known-Ocean beach local (Jimmy Maroutis) had been arrested for stabbing a woman in Point Loma.

According to the police, two witnesses had identified Mr. Maroutis as the perpetrator, which precipitated the contact. The assailant had a baby stroller for his possessions, something Maroudis occasionally also uses, and this may have caused what seems to be now a condition of confusion.

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The Origins of Institutionalized Racism – a System to Control Blacks … and Whites

February 27, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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100 Years Before Lexington and Concord, Bacon’s Armed Rebellion of Whites and Blacks Forced Plantation Elite to Create System of Racial Slavery

By Frank Gormlie

Since the turmoil last year in Ferguson, Missouri, swept in a new civil rights movement, once again America is faced with the reality of its system of institutionalized racism. For Americans with conscience, understanding this system is key to changing it, and it cannot be understood without understanding its origins which trail back, of course, to colonial America.

Confronting a system that predates the very formation of the Republic itself necessitates understanding its raison d’etre – its reason for being. Why is there such a system that has a solid foundation and that has existed all this time, and is so deeply ingrained? Why is there institutionalized racism? If one accepts such a premise, that there is such a thing, then the most obvious answer is that it exists to control blacks, African-Americans. And to control other minorities, Mexican-Americans, Native Americans.

Yet this system is not meant to only control blacks – and other peoples of color – but it also is meant to control white people.

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Part-Time Professors Protest Full-Time Screw Job

February 26, 2015 by Staff

Ocean Beach Professor and Reader Writer at Protest at Grossmont College

Part-time professors and lecturers at college campuses get screwed full time. That’s the message of protests held across San Diego and the rest of the nation on Wednesday, February 25 that were called to raise local and national consciousness to the plight of these part-time teachers who do a lot of the teaching at centers of higher learning.

And local writer, Dave Rice, was there and reported on an event held at Grossmont College in El Cajon for the San Diego Reader. Rice wrote how these adjunct professors and part-timers “often find themselves shuttling between two or three campuses in order to pick up enough classes to eke out a living.”

Dave quoted Ian Duckles, a part-time instructor, who spoke to a gathering of more than a 100 people assembled in front of the student services building at Grossmont College.

“The position that I have is defined as a ‘temporary, part-time instructor. A full-time professor is teaching about five classes a semester. I teach seven or eight, and yet somehow I’m classified as a part-time instructor. I don’t think that accurately reflects the amount of time I spend in the classroom.”

Duckles has 4 part-time positions and it takes quite a lot of time driving back and forth between those jobs at Cuyamaca, Mesa, and Miramar Colleges, and USD.

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Firing a Mom Because She Wants to Breastfeed Is Sex Discrimination

February 26, 2015 by Source

Breast feedingBy Galen Sherwin, ACLU Blog of Rights

A few months ago, I posted about Angela Ames, the Nationwide Insurance worker who alleged that she was denied a place to pump breast milk when she returned to work from maternity leave. When she protested, Angela was coerced into resigning by her supervisor, who told her she should “just go home and be with your babies”.

In January, the Supreme Court sent her the same message – go home ­– rejecting her petition for a review of the dismissal of her case. The denial of her petition effectively means the end of the line for her case.

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Why We’re All Becoming Independent Contractors

February 26, 2015 by Source

By Robert Reich

photo courtesy of flickr

GM is worth around $60 billion, and has over 200,000 employees. Its front-line workers earn from $19 to $28.50 an hour, with benefits.

Uber is estimated to be worth some $40 billion, and has 850 employees. Uber also has over 163,000 drivers (as of December – the number is expected to double by June), who average $17 an hour in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and $23 an hour in San Francisco and New York.

But Uber doesn’t count these drivers as employees. Uber says they’re “independent contractors.”

What difference does it make? …

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Historic Cottages of Ocean Beach on Display – Photo Gallery

February 20, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Historian Kathy Blavatt and cottage-renovators Jane and Tom Gawronski gave their presentation on the historic cottages of Ocean Beach last night at the OB Historical Society’s standing-room-only monthly event.

With a great slideshow riveting the audience, Kathy led the crowd through a visual display of the wonderful cottages of the village. Many of them have taken advantage of the Mills Act – (and there is more info on it at the OB Historical Society’s website). The Mills Act gives tax advantages to home owners who are able to quality their houses as historic. The historic nature involves the exterior of the house.

Here, what follows, is a photo gallery of the slideshow

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Ocean Beach News and Updates

February 18, 2015 by Staff
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Highlights of O.B.’s Historic Beach Cottages

OBceans Upset with Maroutis’ Arrest

Local Artist David Linton Passes

Two People Rescued by Lifeguards at Sunset Cliffs.

Famosa Slough and Mission Bay Wetlands Walk

Bossman Died of Natural Causes and Hodad’s Opened in 1973 – Not 1969

U-T San Diego Gives Hidden Props to OB Rag and Missed ‘the Roger Hedgecock Scandal’

Local Surf-Rock Legend Recorded on OB Pier

AND MORE – Come inside …

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The Idealism and Vision of the 1976 Campaign Platform for the OB Community Planning Group

February 17, 2015 by Source

OB CPG Broc graf3 The Platform Was a Guide to Making Ocean Beach a Citizens’ Paradise

Editor: The following is the 1976 campaign platform for the Ocean Beach Community Planning Group, the forerunner to today’s OB Planning Board. The OB CGP ran a slate of candidates for the May 4, 1976 election and won 8 of the 14 seats on OB’s very first Planning Board.



• Preamble

Recognizing that all communities have a right to self-determination, we believe that the Community Planning Board is a step toward community self-government.

With this in mind, we believe the Community Planning Board, once elected will have and exercise real decision-making power over the planning decisions that affect Ocean Beach. Planningis more than density limits, traffic designs or height limitations ….

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A Path Chosen in Black History

February 17, 2015 by Ernie McCray
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by Ernie McCray

When I look back at my own little chapter of Black History, I feel grateful that I found a path that enabled me to survive a society that sought to deny me a life of dignity.

I, unknowingly, set out on this path on my first day of school, when my knuckles were, seemingly, knocked to kingdom come because I had dozed off, as if I had a choice in a room sizzling at 100 and some degrees with a fan (itself struggling to stay awake) blowing across a pail of water as though that could lower the temperature in that room to any degree. I swear I heard that fan wheeze. Talking, Tucson, Arizona, August or September of 1943.

I remember thinking, back then, as I looked at my hands, surprised to see my knuckles still there, “What the hell kind of welcome was that?” And I knew, as much as a five-year old can know such things, that someday I would be a teacher.

I would observe goings on in every school I ever attended, thinking of what I might have done differently if I had been the teacher. I’d imagine how I would have made lessons come alive, or more relevant to students’ lives.

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