Ann's Stories Essay

Ann's Stories Essay

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“When you were white, you could do anything in Alabama,” says Ann Lyons with shrug as she responds the our question of whether or not racial problems affected her family directly. She goes on to explain that the only real resistance came from her more distance relatives who were embarassed by her family's very public stand against segregation. Alabama wasn't an intimidating place for a young, white girl to grow up, and as a young Durr, Ann was part of an affluent family that stayed very involved in the community. “I was very blessed to have wonderful parents,” she says with a smile. Her father, Clifford Durr, was a successful lawyer at a firm in Montgomery, and her mother, Virginia Durr, was a well known activist during the Civil Right Movement. Because of his frustration with executives in his firm, Mr. Durr resigned and moved his family north to Washington D.C. after an invitation from his brother in-law, a senator in Alabama.
Ann attended a typical, segregated private school. Because she was tall for her age, she says she did not pursue romantic relationships in high school, but rather made lots of guy friends. She enjoyed challenging them to tennis matches, but she “always made sure to let them win.” Basketball was also a natural sport selection for a woman of her stature. She played with vigor until her team was paired against the WAC's, a women's military team, who were “vicious.” They spoiled the sport for her and she decided to pursue other interests, such as horse back riding.
Though Ann mentions that segregation didn't affect her directly during her early life, her parents were very involved in movements throughout both the North and the South. During the Depression, her mother was invited to be the speaker at a m...


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...ocracy and will see civil rights in jeopardy again because of American ignorance and lack of concern for their fellow man.
As I sit across from this local legend, I can't help but feel inspired. I see a uniqueness in Mrs. Lyons that is becoming rare. It's the drive to act, the desire to see change when injustice is evident. In my generation, I do not often see this same motivation for change. Hearing Ann's stories ignites a desire within me to experience the same courage in my generation that Ann saw in hers. She was willing to take risks, to go the extra mile, and to not back down when there was something difficult to accomplish. She joined her peers in taking a stand against cruelty and unfairness. What else needs to be changed in our world? How much could we accomplish if we were willing to be as intentional today as Ann's generation was several decades ago?

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