Race Riot Generation
TTHS – Thornton Township High School. Harvey, IL
During the 60′s and 70′s, our towns were at ground zero of the biggest racial violence since the Civil War.
We were just kids. Innnocent. Most of didn’t hate based on race.
Yet we were thrust into the front lines of our parents ugly biogotry. It was war, with all its trauma and brutality. That’s not hyperbole.
Grade school priest being called “Nigger Lover” by parishioners. Grade school kids watching the high school being tear gassed outside. A white kid watching black kids “literally being tossed under the bus … “ Kids whom he liked, had played basketball with just a few years earlier. Lock-downs were not uncommmon. A white kid in a locked-down room watching another white kid in the hallway getting the shit kicked out of him by blacks. And that’s just for starters.
The graduating classes of 1967-ish thru 1978 can be called “The Race Riot generations.” It was about Blacks and Whites, but it was far from black and white.
This is the place I’m collecting our stories. How you felt then. Send me your stories, photos, reflections.
Talk the way you did back then. Don’t don’t clean it up, sanitize it, or PC foo-foo Nice-Nice it.
It’s ok if you did stuff that was mean. That makes you cringe today when you reflect on it. The statue of limitations is long past. For you. And your parents.
Why do this? To let others learn and gain from our pain. To heal some wounds of our own. To push one more turn of the wheel in the growth of civilization.
Doesn’t matter if were in the middle of a riot or had no conflict in your school. A tough talking leader or a nice kid trying to stay out of it.
No matter where you were, you were there. It was all around you. Making growing up even more crazy than it is.
For me, I was really bummed. No school Spirit. No rah-rah football teams. No dances. No real Homecoming parades – me and some friends got attacked at my first one. No fun dances that any of us wanted to go to.
The excitement of growing up was off, the sharp edge of tension was on.