A reader writes:
I grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and went to a private school there. My family has lived in the area for hundreds of years, dating back to the Revolutionary War. I'm white, and the only black people I saw growing up were maids, and the cafeteria workers at school, and a handful of black girls on scholarship from Harlem. My mother had a black male friend, and it seemed like a family scandal.
The Country Club of Virginia, a few blocks away, would not allow black members, and did not allow Arthur Ashe to play tennis there. A black artist spoke at one of our school assemblies, and a student later got up in blackface and mocked him. When I lived there until 1988, Richmond was a weird segregated, place. White people simply did not go to black neighborhoods - ever.
Now I live in Washington Heights (Inwood) so I'm used to being in the minority - but even if I went down to the neighborhood around the Richmond Coliseum today, I'd feel out of place. I'm not 90 years old - I'm 37. I can't tell you how it makes me feel to see that rally with the Richmond Coliseum in the background. It isn't just happy, or relieved, or excited, it's overwhelmed. It makes me feel faint with joy. I thought the day would never come.