Julian Bond's Lecture on Brown vs. Board of Education

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Loose Ends Still Untied Aurora is not known to be the greatest town in the suburbs of Chicago, so it is a typical move for the people from my side of town to claim residence in Naperville. I will be the first to admit that I have often betrayed my hometown and laid claim to its relatively glamorous neighbor. Naperville is one of the country’s “best places to raise a family,” or so I have heard. I wouldn’t be too surprised, considering the amount of wealth that flows through the town. Naperville offers a mix of people, professionals and their families of various ethnicities and backgrounds; however, it lacks true culture diversity. Even though there are whites, blacks, Hispanics, Chinese, Japanese, Indians, etc., few of its youths are conscious of the various backgrounds because of the economic equality of everyone: everyone is equally rich in Naperville (a point of which I and my fellow Aurorans regularly accused our Naperville schoolmates). My high school consisted of a decent racial blend, and despite a few cultural cliques, everyone was White in thought and in wallet. I did not hold this view at the time, but I had yet to be exposed to reality then. When I came to the University of Illinois, I was accompanied by a significant force of my high school peers, including all but two of my closest friends. During the first few weeks of school, when everybody was meeting everybody else, I was busy hanging out with my standard high school group and, thus, missed much of the opportunity to make a bounty of new friends. I did, however, meet one person who has become my closest friend and who sparked my introduction to reality. I went to visit him over spring break. It was a Friday, a little past noon. My friend lives around 75th Street, a block from Lake Michigan. For everyone who isn’t from the area, I was right in the middle of a very black south side of Chicago neighborhood. When his mother found out I was coming to do lunch, she asked him, “Why are you making this boy come out here?” My friend responded immediately: “Mom, he’s not afraid of black people.” This was a true statement; I never had feared anyone because of race, but his mother instinctively knew, unlike my friend and me, that his hometown and my hometown were polar opposites.

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