Keillor: The gentle people shall prevail

I like Houston. Named for Sam, who skipped the fiasco of the Alamo and was elected president of the Republic of Texas after which lent his identify to a serious metropolis because the Alamo turned a automotive-rental firm. It is an beneath-rated metropolis. It is Texas however not so filled with itself. You meet individuals with cash who nonetheless drink low cost beer and do not speak concerning the texture of it. It is monumental, giant sufficient to include New York, Washington, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis and Miami, so it lacks the clear-reduce cultural id that these cities have. It is extra like Opportunityville. However I like that angle — that gratitude leads you to do grungy work in behalf of others.

I wanted I might’ve been in Little Rock on Monday to rejoice the day again in 1957 when the president of the USA mobilized 1,000 paratroopers to protect 9 black youngsters so they might attend Central Excessive Faculty, which was nonetheless segregated three years after the Supreme Courtroom had dominated it unlawful. Six women and three boys marched on over to the varsity, surrounded by males carrying rifles, the 9 all dressed up and hopeful — years later, Minnijean Brown stated, “I figured, ‘I am a pleasant individual. As soon as they get to know me, they will see I am OK. We’ll be buddies.'”

Up in Minnesota, I used to be 15 and I watched on tv because the mob of livid whites blocked their means, screaming, spitting, and it confirmed you ways ugly democracy might be. The mob was merely expressing public opinion, as Gov. Orval Faubus knew, and he took his stand for segregation, and thus his identify goes down within the Corridor of Disgrace. No cafe ever named a sandwich for him, no one named a library for him. He is a no one.

A beloved uncle of mine was from Arkansas and he defended segregation and needed to face my sainted grandmother who believed that folks of colour have been higher-wanting, more durable working, extra loyal to family and friends, and nearer to God. His thoughts was modified a couple of years later when he was sick within the hospital and was befriended by a black man and got here to admire him deeply. That is the way it goes in my household: We cling to ignorance and superstition however when the sunshine comes on, we do not shut our eyes to it. We’re good individuals. You get to know us, you discover out we’re okay, like Minnijean.

I nonetheless admire her for her naive perception that niceness might win the day, that these horrible individuals, their faces contorted by hatred, yelling each ugly factor they might consider, may by some means come round if they only sat right down to lunch together with her and noticed her good…

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