Friday, January 13, 2006

The New South


I remember getting fountain cherry cokes from Clark's Pharmacy on Saturday mornings on Main Street in Williamston. I think you can still get them there (cherry or vanilla). It was what we did on Saturday mornings in that sleepy town nestled on the Roanoke river. Williamston, North Carolina was a perfectly quiet and segregated town when I was a teenager in the early 1980's. The Jim Crow signs were down by then, but the sentiment still lingered. There were still at least two segregated lunch counters and other places that were "understood" as off limits. The town has changed some since then. The lunch counters and other establishments are now all fully integrated.

Is it safe now? Well, It is no longer the safe haven from the city that my parents knew when they sent me there at the age of 12. It's still safer than a larger city, but it has lost its "innocence." Dope and cocaine can now be found within it's crevices and street corners. As a matter of fact, there are parts of town that have become so urban that they have changed the name of the street. For instance, Sycamore Street has now become Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive. Unfortunately, that's usually a clear indication that the Ghetto has arrived.

Martin Luther King, Jr., God bless your soul
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