This is an excerpt from my book, From Walco To Tokyo
“We’re not Niggers. We’re colored people,” my cousin Kim yelled at two white rednecks from our parked car window.
We – myself, Kim, my younger brother Tom, Kim’s little brother and my cousin Tim, and the lady who babysat us Mae – were all sitting in my Aunt Bonnie’s green Plymouth station wagon. It was parked outside the Carousel grocery and liquor store in Panama City Beach, Florida, often called the Red Neck Riviera.
It was hot – the week of July 4th – and we all had the windows rolled down. We were all white kids. Kim was the oldest at 7 years. I was 6. Tim and Tom were toddlers. Mae was an African-American. We called her “colored” back then. It was 1961. She was Aunt Bonnie’s baby sitter and housekeeper in Hueytown, Alabama where they all lived. Mae had traveled with us on our yearly family trip to the Gulf coast. Panama City Beach was always our destination, and on this day, Mae was sitting in the car while my mother and aunt – sisters Lou Anne and Bonnie Jean – went into the store for our week’s supplies.
There we were, four little white kids and a black woman, sitting it the car. There probably wasn’t another black person within 10 miles of the spot where we were. Back in the 60s, the beaches were sugar white in Panama City Beach, and the population – at least near the resort areas of the gulf – was almost as white.
Sitting in the car, Kim and I were half hanging out the windows trying to stay cool, just minding our own business. Suddenly these two white men walked by us to go into the store. One of them looked at us in the car and said something like, “Look at that nigger with those white kids.”
That’s when my cousin Kim, who took offense to the comment, yelled at the men as loud as her little 7-year-old voice could. “We’re not niggers, we’re colored people.”
The two men, stunned by the boldness of the little girl, just looked at us, shook their heads and kept walking.
I will never forget what Kim said to those men on that day. It has stuck with me for 51 years. In my house, we were not racially prejudice. We didn’t see people in black or white. We just saw people. A black lady would come to my house every day until I was 6 years old and take care of me while my mother and dad went to work. I even had a black baby doll and a white baby doll. I thought it was only natural.
Causes John Haslam Supports
I support the Constitution of the United States of America.
I support St. Jude's Hospital.
I believe in GOD.