How our lives changed 

2018 4 Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

Walcott Trust & Savings Bank
101 W Bryant St
PO Box 108
Walcott, IA 52773

Mississippi Laser
7700 47 St
Milan, IL 61264

Longs Carpet
4200 11 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

Roth Pump
Box 4330
Rock Island, IL 61201

Hughes Telephone
1117 Blackhawk Rd
Rock Island, IL 61201

ASAP Equipment
4730 44 St

Taylor Garages
Airport Rd
Milan, IL 61264

Michael Warner, Attorney
1600 4th Ave, Suite 410
Rock Island, IL 61201

Kansas City Life
5019 34 Ave B
Moline, IL 61265

Dr. Romeo
1705 2nd Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

Morton Building
Highway 6
Atkinson, IL

Pathway Hospice
500 42
Rock Island, IL 61201

QC Carbide
1510 17 St
East Moline, IL 61244

Lyss Chiropractic
5500 30 Ave
Moline, IL 61201

Metro MRI
550 15 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Litton Life Support
2734 Hickory Grove Rd
PO Box 4508
Davenport, IA 52808

Spencer Bros. Disposal
New Windsor, IL

Mane Designs
Viola, IL

Quad-Cities Graduate Studies Center
639 38 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

Taylor Freezers 1885 Earhart Dr
Sandwich IL 60548

Milan Surplus
I-280 Exit 15
Milan, IL 61264

We want to be accepted

Among the challenges black people faced during the civil-rights movement were the myths white people held about how black people wanted to live.

The late civil-rights leader the Rev. William Grimes of Second Baptist Church in Rock Island addressed these misconceptions Dec. 9, 1965, in the Daily Dispatch. These are his words:

I am sometimes amazed and amused at some of the things many well-meaning white people have said concerning the Negro and his struggle for first-class citizenship. Many attempt to speak for him and often tell what the Negro wants out of life.

These white people have said, ``He is happy with things as they are. He will not keep up his property. He wants to live with white people. He is happy living together in a particular section of town. He doesn't want to live where he is not wanted. Negroes are all the same. A Negro cannot hate. Since the passage of the so-called Civil Rights Law, he must now help himself.''

There are other points, but let's examine these.

Many are made to believe that a Negro will not keep up his property. This is a false belief.

To begin with, a Negro must pay a penalty to buy property. This means that generally he is compelled to buy in a declining area and then must pay from $1,000 to $3,000 above market value for the property. In most instances, he must spend an additional $1,500 to $3,000 repairing a house to make it liveable. Some have spent more.

There are those who feel that the reason a Negro attempts to buy outside the ghetto area is because he wants to live with white people. This is not so.

He is not attempting to buy a neighborhood -- he wants only to live in a stable area where he can secure a good, liveable house. It doesn't bother him as much as some believe if his neighbors shun him. He is accustomed to this kind of treatment all of his life.

Are Negroes happy living together in a specific area of a city where he is deprived of a decent home, where enforcement of sanitary codes is neglected, law enforcement only token? The answer is no.

The Negro wants to be a citizen like anyone else. He wants a home that he can be proud of. He wants his street and alleys clean. Most of all, he wants to respect the law.

It has been the mistaken idea that a Negro is a very happy person: Give him a big automobile, a tavern, and he is contented. Because for many years he was considered a song-and-dance man, the Negro was thought to be happy, but he wasn't. The years he spent singing and dancing were a means of a livelihood and a way to relieve the frustrations caused by prejudice and segregation.

All Negroes are not the same. Some are good. Some are bad. Some strive for a good education. Some do not. Yet, we realize that all Negroes are generally classed the same.

However, the majority of Negroes are good, law-abiding citizens. This cannot be seen by the white community because the Negro is isolated by segregation. When I speak of segregation, I mean that the Negro is segregated economically. He cannot find jobs or positions comparable to those which are available to white people. Therefore, his ability to excel in the economic world is stymied.

Sociologically, the Negro is segregated. He cannot become a part of the whole community. The Negro is thought of as a separate part of the community.

Psychologically, he is segregated. The economic and social pressures of segregation have caused the Negro to feel that it is not necessary to prepare oneself that he might fit into the pattern of his community.

Of course, the general picture is that he is physically segregated. He must, at all costs, remain in that area of the city where there is no hope of physical improvement.

I have heard some white people say that the Negro must now do something to help himself, since a civil-rights law has been enacted. What these people don't understand is that the Negro has been fighting for many years to help himself, but he has been hampered because of prejudice and discrimination.

Secondly, the Negro is willing and able to help himself if given the opportunity. It is true the Civil Rights Law has been passed, but until it is implemented, it means nothing. Furthermore, it doesn't remove the hatred and prejudice from men's minds.

There has been the mistaken idea that a Negro cannot hate. I need not pursue this point in detail, but let me remind you of this: The singing-dancing on the corner has disappeared, and in its place is the sullen, angry look.

We are not at the point where explosions are occurring. There will be more. Let us hope that we are awakening to the task before us. Let it not happen here.

You may ask, ``What does the Negro want?'' The answer is simple. He wants to be accepted as any other citizen -- accepted on his merit. He wants nothing given to him. He wants those rights that are his and that he deserves.

Copyright 1999, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.