From the day I was born, I began to learn my lessons. I learned it is possible to be a Christian and a white southerner simultaneously; to be a gentlewoman and an arrogant callous creature in the same moment; to pray at night and ride a Jim Crow car the next morning and to feel comfortable doing both. I learned to believe in freedom, to glow when the word democracy was used, and to practice slavery from morning to night. I learned it the way all of my southern people learn it: by closing door after door until one’s mind and heart and conscience are blocked off from each other and from reality.

Lillian Smith (1897-1966) American author
Killers of the Dream, ch. 1 “When I Was a Child” (1949)
Added on 22-Jul-09 | Last updated 22-Jul-09
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