I have never told this story to anyone, not even my mother until yesterday, because I did not think anybody would really care. However, the experience did change me, and I thought about it more than a few times over the years. When I was in my early twenties I lived in small town in southern Georgia for a time and I thought the state was beautiful, so I used to just drive around a lot up there. One Sunday, I think it was, when I was driving on this old country road I heard the most stunning beautiful choir music coming from a small church and I was just so taken in by the sound of it that I just could not help, but to pull up and stop the car to listen to it more. For a brief moment, I thought about going in the little church, but I had not been in a church since I was eight or ten years old and even though it was 1982 I worried how I might be received since I was certain that my face would be the palest face in there because after all it was a black church, so I just sat there in front of the church and listened to their amazing choir. Suddenly a black fellow came out followed by another and then a black woman and at first it looked as though they were glaring angrily at me, so I started my car and readied to leave. I then looked back at them and thought wait a minute they are looking beyond me at something behind me, so I immediately spun my head around and behind me coming out another small building across the road was a group Ku Klux Klansmen in full dress with some with the hoods off walking out that building and they were glaring at the people that came out of that church and by that time more had stepped outside the church. I was scared, but at that very same time I was never more ashamed to have white skin than I was that day. Not knowing what to do, I slowly pulled away from the church and headed down the road, but my fear and utter total embarrassment quickly turned into a tearful anger. I pulled off the road again and just hung my head and thought Jesus Christ brown people cannot even feel safe in their house or worship, their house of God. When is this vile hatred going to stop? After getting underway again, I wondered if I would ever live long enough to see the end of this evil hateful nonsense.
Well I am almost sixty-one now and I have lived long enough to see the whites only signs go down and the other vile visuals and symbols of the “Jim Crow” era disappear, but current events in this country tells me the same hatred stills imbues the soul of our nation and the deceptively racist laws being passed tells me the old ghosts of “Jim Crow” are alive and well and still haunting the beautiful and otherwise inviting state of Georgia.