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The Washington black community was able to succeed beyond his wildest dreams. I mean, we had our own newspapers, our own restaurants, our own theaters, our own small shops, our own clubs, our own Masonic lodges.
The black community now in many ways divided itself the way the larger white community divides itself, over class issues. And that race is no longer the bond that it once was. That's one of the prices you pay for progress.
So I'm a young boy in the 1940s growing up, seeing Ralph Bunche on a regular basis, seeing Duke Ellington on a regular basis. We know that these people are famous. They're living in the same community as we live in. They go to the same stores and shops.
Segregation was a burden for many blacks, because the end of the civil war and the amendments added to the constitution elevated expectations beyond reality in some respects.
People should have the choice to be able to live where they want to live, go to school where they want to go to school, marry whoever they want to marry regardless of what their complexion is and so forth.
One of the prices that we pay for integration was the disintegration of the black community.
Many of the master chefs in the South, both the upper South as well as the deep South, were blacks and many of those people came here to Washington, D.C., and opened up establishments. Very, very few of them have survived. But they certainly were very prominent.
It seems every year, people make the resolution to exercise and lose weight and get in shape.
I can think of no one that my grandparents knew, that told me stories and that I experienced myself, had any sense of social inferiority growing up in segregated Washington. None whatsoever.
Even during my youth, I can recall very few black people living on any kind of public assistance. People were working, doing some kind of job that was useful to the community.
Before Booker T. Washington, we have small business owners but we do not have a philosopher of black entrepreneurship, and that's what Washington was.
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