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Sue Monk Kidd’s essay “The Slave Chair” [February 2001] reawakened many memories for me. As a child, I didn’t give much thought to race — until my family moved to Birmingham, Alabama, in 1969. The march from Selma was over, but the city was still deeply divided. Busing had just begun, and white Southerners were anything but gracious. I was first flabbergasted and then angry at the treatment the black students received. Yvonne, my friend in choir, was one of them. She and I both felt like outcasts in that faux genteel world, trying to make sense of the incomprehensible.
I return to Birmingham every few years or so, and my impression is that there is more integration, acceptance, and peace. On my last visit, I observed two white teenagers holding a door for a young black woman pushing a baby stroller. My heart sang.