A Kentucky Baptist church voted to ban interracial couples from attending their services. This was all prompted by a nice couple, Stella Harville, who played the piano in the church and who is white, and her fiancé, Ticha Chikuni, a black from Zimbabwe, who had sung at the church the day they were booted.
|Stella and Ticha
After the service one of the redneck members came up to Stella’s father, Dan Harville, a member for decades, and said, “Susie and her boyfriend are not allowed to sing in this church anymore.” He added, “Furthermore, Susie can take her fella back where she found him from.”
Kentucky is my birth state but it is a part of the South, and racism is still prevalent in that part of the country. Of course this is true all across the U.S. these days and it seems to be getting worse, not better. It has been 47 years since the Civil Rights Act was enacted on July 2, 1964, so I decided to do some research on Wikipedia to determine just what this epic legislation was designed to do.
It clearly spells out the fact that you can’t do what the Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church in Pike County, Kentucky did.
The bill outlawed major forms of discrimination against African Americans and women, including racial segregation. It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public. It was the dream of John F. Kennedy, but ramrodded through Congress by then President Lyndon Johnson after JFK’s assassination.
The legislation was challenged in both the House and the Senate, in the latter by the “Southern Bloc” of 18 southern Democratic Senators and one Republican Senator led by Richard Russell (D-GA) who launched a filibuster to prevent its passage. Sen. Strom Thurmond (D-SC) and Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) fought the bill until the end when four other senators came up with a compromise piece of legislation that was finally passed in July of 1964.
So is the American public still not ready for interracial marriages? If not you had better get ready because they have soared since the 1980s, according to the Pew Research Center, accounting for nearly one in seven of all U.S. marriages. President Barack Obama is the product of a black father and a white mother, which many feel accounts for those who claim to dislike his politics. An important Pew finding was that the 18 to 29 age group has an 85 percent acceptability rate for interracial marriages.
That is interesting thinking back to growing up in a South where I would constantly butt heads with racists, even KKK members, who not only said I should get out of the South, but some added threats if I didn’t. It was the young turks like me that refused to conform. The point here is that Pew claims interracial marriages are important to examine since they could be a barometer for race relations, and these seem to have deteriorated again since the election of President Obama, and the fight now over the immigration issue.
What happened to the “melting pot” ideology?