My office, well most of my office (I'll get to that in a minute) watched the 50th Anniversarry ceremony today in the meeting room. A pretty good cross section of the ages, but unfortunately, not races, the feeling was the ceremony went pretty well. Comments and impressions made and now summarized included:
*(from our Central High Grad) - she never felt, in the 70's, that they were still segragated, the kids mixed pretty well and she has friends of both races to this day.
*(from our Central High Parent) - apparently today the black kids eat in the cafeteria and the white kids eat in the courtyard. No word on what the Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, etc. kids do. Also, there was not much of an ovation for the re-presentation on the State Championship trophy to the all white 1957(?) Central High Football team....
*We were all in agreement that the Mayor took way too much time. My question, how much of that speech is he going to back up during his time in office? I hope the Times and Little Rock citizens will remind him of this speech in the future should he fail to remember his own words.
*Everyone thought the Central High Student Body President, who was neither black or white, had one of the best speeches of the day and gave even President Clinton a run for his money.
*Everyone also wondered why, oh why, Deborah Mathis was emceeing and what was she trying to convey during her many, minature stump turns? Anyone have a rough count on her total speech time? If anyone spoke longer than Clinton and was not actually a part of the Little Rock Nine, they should be embarassed.
*We also wondered why Jesse Jackson was not speaking, hello, Jackson, Clinton, that's a seminar in public speaking people.
*Everyone, as usual, was impressed with Bill. It truly is seeing a genius at work, political science majors should have to study his public persona, no one does it better. We also cringed when Mathis followed Bill's speech with something to the affect of:"We grow 'em smart down here!" Not for the use of southern drawl or naughtin, just that, after the former President of the United States speaks at a ceremony commemorating 50yrs of integration in Little Rock, one would hope, the emcee would have something either wittier or wiser to quip to the world..
*All in all, a good day for Little Rock, Arkansas and the United States. Thank you to the Little Rock 9 for helping to change the world I live in.
*On a sadder note: One person in our office "is sick of all this Little Rock Nine stuff, it's been 50 years, that's enough, get over it." Biting my tongue, because, among other things, getting into a philosophical debate with this individual is on my "5 things that will tell me I'm in Hell" list, she continued that she was also sick of 9/11 and "they" should get over it and move on, for heaven's sake. Thankfully, that person did not watch with us, or I would probably not have a job this afternoon. So, while we've made progress, there's still a long way to go here in the Natural State....
Confidentially looking toward a brighter tomorrow, MR.