Black History Month – St Petersburg’s Memorial
Black History Month is upon us. With that I cannot help but point out where our city has grown. It is hard for our generation to imagine what our brothers and sisters have faced before desegregation. During segregation we could not eat together, go to school together and in some places even worship together. (For the latter I often wonder how pastors will try to explain that one to the Almighty, if they see Him.)
My mother told me in the ’50s she lost a job because she waited on an Afrian-american couple at the wrong table in a restaurant. When the owner came over and pointed it out, he yelled at her– she refused to move the couple. All three were kicked out of the restaurant. It is hard to imagine the injustice when being raised in the 1980’s. Everyone played together, attended school together and lived in the same neighborhood. It was not always so.
There is a place in the city that has been in business since the days of segregation and that is the Coney Island Hot Dog shoppe. A part of it stands as a memorial to the way it was; not to glorify it but as a reminder of how bad things can be without the understanding that all are created equal in the eyes of God. Locals know exactly what I am writing about. It is the window on the side of the restaurant– the infamous 18 inch window no longer used but left to stand as a relic of a time gladly gone. This window was where black families stood outside in the heat and rain and picked up their food, unable to sit inside and eat with the white customers. Every St Pete Saint knows this window. Everyone is glad it is no longer used.