Through The Front Door

One Man’s March

I long thought that my husband, Forrest, should write his story for this column, but since he passed away recently, the task falls to me. I’ll try to tell his story and a little bit of my own.

Forrest, an African-American, grew up in rural Alabama in a family of sharecroppers. He came of age in the late 1960s. I grew up in the same era, but in an affluent Northern suburb. I am white. Read more »

Lost Opportunity

An Exception to the Rule

In the 1950s and ’60s I had the good fortune to live in New York City, right across from Riverside Park. Our 325-acre back yard offered sledding in winter, and for the rest of the year I could race my Schwinn throughout the park. I was allowed to roam freely as long as I promised never to talk to strangers. If you obey no other rule, my mother used to say, obey this one. (I thought that was a good deal and obeyed no other rules.) Read more »

1964 The Year At A Glance

January 11 Surgeon General Luther L. Terry releases his report on cigarette smoking.

January 16 Hello, Dolly! opens at the St. James Theater in New York City.

January 23 The Twenty-fourth Amendment, abolishing the poll tax, becomes part of the U.S. Constitution.

February 7 The Beatles arrive at JFK Airport. Read more »

1964 - The Year The Sixties Began

Viewing a transformation that still affects all of us—through the prism of a single year

It has been called the “burned-over decade,” a “dream and a nightmare,” the “definitive end of the Dark Ages, and the beginning of a more hopeful and democratic period” in American history. It’s been celebrated in movies like Forrest Gump and memorialized by television shows like “The Wonder Years,” “American Dreams,” and “China Beach.” Read more »

The Power Of 2857

Fifty years ago this December, Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus she was riding. Because she wouldn’t, the whole country has changed. But what happened to the bus?

 

We can only imagine what James F. Blake must have been thinking when he pulled his bus into the yard of the Montgomery Bus Lines at the end of his run on December 1, 1955. For the most part, it had been a routine day’s work, but that one incident where the black woman had refused to move to the back of the bus had to have been infuriating. Still, Blake had done what he thought he was supposed to do, and the police had come and taken her off to jail.