I was in the last all-white segregated graduating class of my high school (1964). In November of 1963, they put the news from Dallas on our P.A. system, and I heard Walter Cronkite say, with trembling
voice, that President Kennedy had died. I saw Ruby shoot Oswald on live television, as it happened. I will not defend segregation. I was always against it. But I know that the South desegregated more
quickly than many Northern areas did. Even MLK acknowledged the fact that "de facto" segregation in the Chicago area, and others,was a greater challenge for him.
Much was changing for the better 1963-1973. So much, that it created fear, and a backlash effect, which was cynically used by politicians, from Wallace and Nixon, continuing with Reagan, and persisting
today, as part of the Trump phenomenon. This all began in 1968, which saw two of our brightest lights of positive change extinguished-----King and RFK.
And yet, with all of that going on, and with the Vietnam war quickly losing support, there was, in the hearts of everyday people, more tolerance, more willingness to cooperate, more empathy, than I see now. People were able to change their minds, if it became obvious that they were wrong. There was hope in the air, especially for the young. There was a sense of possibilities. There were even good
politicians, like McGovern, Gene McCarthy, Dirksen, Udall, Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan and many others. I started to see this rapidly decline in the Eighties, as the "Christian Right" became a
force in Republican politics, and Right-wing think tanks became so influential in policy-making. I'm not imagining all this. I've lived through it and observed it!