The summer of 1968 was marred by the Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. assassinations. All hell was breaking loose as I began my teaching career that fall in inner-city Cincinnati, Ohio at a predominately black school. It certainly could not compare to Vietnam, but there were days I felt deserving of combat pay.
Looking back, with a better understanding of the history of what was happening around us, I can remember some of the black friends of our youth distancing themselves from us as we got older. I am certain, they were being instructed by their older generation to “know their place,” just as my mother was telling me the races should not be mixing. Thank God, at the ripe old age of 92, she has greatly softened that stance. Her world is a better place. Much of her loving physical care is being provided by the off-springs of those she once resented.
I had the opportunity last winter to spend some time with (black MU graduate) Walt Garnett, who co-owns a Wild Wings restaurant in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He has fond memories of Marshall, including several KAs who he considers his friends. He told me he was the butt of jokes, and wouldn't want to repeat some of the names his own (fraternity) brothers would call him, after a night of partying with his white buddies.
I will purchase November Ever After, if for no other reason than to get a better sense of the author's perspective. I heard him doing a radio interview in Huntington (West Virginia) recently and he has put a lot of time and energy into publishing a history of that brief period of our lives. And, like Dave (Ferrell), that "incident" – of which I have no personal knowledge – is only a very small fraction of the total work, which deals primarily with the aftermath of the crash.”