National Geographic : 1988 Jan
"The cause? Is it the whites? Is it always their fault?" "Some of the causes appear more objec tive, such as the economic conditions, the poor schools, and the flawed welfare system. But when you really analyze it, the deepest and most fundamental cause still is that whites consider blacks inferior, never equal to them. In the end, it boils down to racism." "Aren't you exaggerating a little, looking for some excuse, perhaps?" "It's true that losers always seek excuses, but not in this case." "So how do you see the future?" "I don't have big hopes for the future in Natchez, although whites, even here, finally understand that blacks ought to have jobs and a chance to earn more money. When we are poor, we don't have the money to support their businesses." "You sound so bitter. Do you resent whites, as many black people with whom I spoke do?" "No. I had the good luck that I was taught to love, not to hate, but I'm pretty sad, and I want my children to leave Natchez." "Is there nothing that in realistic terms can be done here?" "Something always can be done. But now the situation is that as black leader of this community, no matter how right I am, I can go out and say this all day and all night, and if not enough people agree and join me, nothing will happen, and I will be hitting my head against a wall." T A SOFTBALL GAME in Greensboro, North Carolina, we met Roy Beal, who spent all his 74 years in this very spot, a small triangle of streets between Cone Cotton Mill and his own house. His father began to work in a factory here in 1904 and after 50 years received a gold watch. Roy started work when he was 14 and retired 54 years later, receiving $61.22 as his monthly pension. I thought I had misunderstood, but finally Car graveyards like this one in Colby, Kansas, shocked us at first. To own a car in Poland, even an old one, is a dreamful filled. Cars are maintained with care, and parts are recycled again and again. But this is America; even the cows are bigger.