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IN THIS CURRENT AGE of many-leveled communications, millions of people are put in touch with a particular situation as the realities of that situation are communicated to them via television and news media. More often than not, while being caught up in the contemporary as spectators or as activists, we are at once put in touch with the long span of history which has helped to shape the contemporary situation. So a particular development which is brought to our attention in 1969 is really opening up for examination the roots of a situation which may date to 1690, and we become, sometimes belatedly, aware that a large piece of history is at work in a contemporary movement on which we are focusing at the moment.
  Charleston, like so many seaport towns in the South, has the slow-paced atmosphere of peaceful calm which has traditionally tended to cover up some of the clashing contradictions in the southern way of life. This deceptive, superficial calm which has become a kind of accompaniment to the humid, tropical climate has long been a disarming feature of southern life. Even the oppressed, the colonized, have a tendency to accommodate to this facade, smothering their true feelings and going along with polite society. "Man, if you can't make it here, you can't make it nowhere. This is Big Easy," one used to hear so often among black folk in New Orleans as the harsh realities of segregation were avoided. And so people continued to follow their daily routines all over the South-waiting table at Antoine's in the French Quarter, working as domestics in the private homes of professionals, loading cotton on the docks of Galveston or Savannah or unloading bananas in Tampa, brought in from the Latin American division of the Empire. Peaceful, calm, routine ways of life partially disturbed only by the quickened pace of urban development in the larger cities but above all, unchallenged and apparently quite content. Then comes an explosion from down below and everyone appears to be caught by surprise-both the oppressor and the oppressed. The oppressed are surprised at their unity and the kind of power it has
  J. H. O'Dell is Associate Managing Editor of FREEDOMWAYS who frequently contributes articles to these pages. 


Transcription Notes:
Please read the Instructions before doing more. (Each transcription site has its own rules). I'll correct the following: We don't need to mark up centering or italics. Any mark-up needs to be in double parentheses, not single. I've corrected it. Paragraphs should be separated by one blank line too. Thanks for you attention :) ---------- Reopened for Editing 2024-02-13 12:35:22 ---------- Reopened for Editing 2024-02-13 15:10:16 ---------- Reopened for Editing 2024-02-13 15:41:15 ---------- Reopened for Editing 2024-02-13 16:39:14