Chances and Dreams

September 26, 2008
By Kelly Nicholson, Paris, IL

“Lily, come back here!” shouted Mama. I stopped running toward the theater to look back at her. She’s a strong woman, her broad shoulders bearing the cruelties of them Jim Crow laws. “Lily, the colored entrance is right here. You’re goin’ to the white entrance, honey.”

“But I’m tired of bein’ hidden in the back. I wanna go in the front, and be seen for once by everyone.”

Mama just shook her head, and got that look on her face when she has to herself. “Lily, I’ve told ya so many times. Colored folk ain’t allowed to use anythin’ for whites. We can only use what is for colored folk.” I hate these separate everythings. Why can’t we just share?

I looked down the street toward the white only entrance. I was surprised to see a white girl about my age coming toward the colored entrance. Her mama started callin’ to her, ‘Faith! Faith, come ’ere!” I realized that the white girl was doin’ what I was doin’ a few minutes before. For some reason that white girl, Faith’s her name, wanted to go in to the theater through the colored entrance. As I’m watching her, she looks up at me right in the eye. We hold each other’s gaze for awhile, and then she smiles. I smile back, but there’s a pain in my heart. If we hadn’t been in the Deep South, and if people didn’t have a problem with my skin color, we could’ve been the best of friends. Now we have to go our separate ways, not knowin’ what we could’ve had together. A chance at friendship had been taken away from that white girl called Faith and me ’cause of white racism. I despise them white people who think that I’m nothin’ but dirty. But on that day outside the theater, I may’ve lost a chance at friendship, but I was given hope. Hope that whites would realize what they’re doin’, and stop this racism. This hope is now my dream of a future with equal rights for everyone.

The author's comments:
I wrote this while I was watching Burning Mississippi in my AP History class last year. I get upset when we discuss what Americans did to African Americans. Maybe with my writing people will see past the differences to embrace the similarities.

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