How our lives changed 

1422 5th Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Teske Pet & Garden Center
2432 16 St
Moline, IL 61265

Teske Pet & Garden Center
2395 Spruce Hills Dr
Bettendorf, IA 52722

Moline Welding Inc
1801 2 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Barnett's House of Fireplaces
1620 5th Ave
Moline, IL 61265

DeGreve Oil Change
2777 18 St
Bettendorf, IA 52722

DeGreve Oil Change
3400 State St
Bettendorf, IA 52722

DeGreve Oil Change
3900 N Pine
Davenport, IA

DeGreve Oil change
2125 53 St
Moline, IL 61265

DeGreve Oil Change
1618 38 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

DeGreve Oil change
3560 N Brady St
Davenport, IA

1305 5 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Pratt's Antiques
125 E Main St
Aledo, IL 61231

Main St Antiques
114 E Main St
Aledo, IL 61231

Conner Co
PO Box 888
East Moline, IL 61244

Kimball Cleaners
308 SW 5th Ave
Aledo, IL 61231

Williams Studio
New Windsor, IL 61465

Andalusia, IL 61232

Hideaway Plastics
1801 17 St
PO Box 379
Viola, IL 61486

Deer & Co Credit Union
3950 38 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Civil-rights battlefields were everywhere

By Carol Loretz, Dispatch/Argus Staff writer

Bill Cribbs

Charles Toney

Many of the Quad-Cities' civil-rights leaders of the 1960s had been fighting for equality and justice for many years.

Davenport affirmative-action officer Bill Cribbs, for example, was the youth member of the Quad-City Interracial Committee, formed in November 1943. Members of 22 civic, religious and labor organizations gathered in the rear of Davenport Mayor Ed Frick's tavern to address the racist rules at the Melody Mill, a Davenport youth club.

The Davenport School Board had created the Melody Mill in a former automobile dealership because students at Davenport High School -- now Davenport Central -- needed a place to dance and play games, Mr. Cribbs said. The club prohibited black and white youngsters from dancing or playing checkers, fearing physical contact would lead to more serious relationships.

``That was back in the days when they wouldn't let black youth wrestle if they faced a white opponent,'' Mr. Cribbs said. ``They were scared the black might rub off.''

Sheriff Walter Beuse solved the problem at the Melody Mill when he said Iowa law prohibited schools from racial discrimination, president Ray Teeple remembers.

While appeals to the law could be effective, direct action sometimes worked better.

Charles Toney of Coal Valley recalled the 1940s day when his young black son went to the Davenport natatorium, an indoor swimming pool.

``A Mexican kid was ahead of him in line,'' Mr. Toney said. ``They stopped the Mexican but let my son in.''

The pool attendants may not have realized Mr. Toney's son was black because he had straight hair and light skin. Later that day, the youngster told his dad he did not want to swim without his friends, so Mr. Toney sent his son and friends back to the pool, where they were barred.

``I gathered a group of black men, and we went back there,'' Mr. Toney recalled. ``They let them all through but me.'' The attendants told him he was barred because of a scab on his shin, not the color of his skin.

The swimming-pool victory was not the family's only one. In 1942, Mr. Toney and his wife, Ann, won the first civil-rights suit against discrimination at a Davenport ice-cream parlor.

``It made a lot of people aware and opened the way for more businesses to stop discriminating,'' he said.

Mr. and Mrs. Toney published a magazine, the Sepia Record, in 1944 to bridge the gap of racial misunderstanding. The first issue's 5,000 copies were followed by a second issue in 1945. Each contained photographs and articles about successful black Americans from across the Quad-Cities and the nation.

``Our aim is to show that Negroes are not different in any respect from the average American,'' Mr. Toney wrote. ``Every soldier, sailor or marine that is pictured here will be shot at by the enemy with a bullet that isn't trademarked black or white, but has just the word `Kill' inscribed thereon.''

The magazine was short-lived because it was in the wrong place at the wrong time and couldn't attract enough advertising, Mr. Toney said.

More than 20 years later, Lorene Jambura of Davenport opposed discrimination as treasurer for the local Office of Economic Opportunity, after the multi-ethnic group had invested its money in a Davenport bank.

``I threatened to pull the money because they didn't have any minorities working there,'' she said.

When Ms. Jambura attended Marycrest College in Davenport, she became frustrated with her teachers' lack of understanding of minority issues. ``Some of those nuns were so naive, it wasn't even funny,'' she said.

The lack of understanding has not disappeared.

``We're all one race -- the human race -- but some people still have hangups about it,'' Mr. Cribbs said.

``We may not have come over on the same ship, but we're all in the same boat.''

Copyright 1999, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.