10-11 years old: Separate is not equal

Victoria Gray Adams: So, Daddy went to Detroit to see if he could work and after he found work, he sent for Mom. And Mom went. And after we got out of school that year, they decided they wanted to bring me up. I went up. Spent about a year up there. Mom decided that she just didn't like the town up there so decided to go back home. So we did, we were on our way home. We had to change buses in Newark. So, we went into the bus terminal like everybody else except we failed to notice that all the other black people had apparently gone in a different direction except us. And so this little lady, very kind looking white hair older lady came over and spoke, "You look nice." Mom spoke and she said, "Where are you going?" And Mom told her. "And where are you coming from?" And Mom told her. And then she said, "Well, your waiting room is right over there." Mom said, "Right over where?" And so, she pointed across the room and said, "See that door over there? Right through there. Your waiting room is over there." And so we gathered up our things and went right through there. And it was like walking out of a well-lighted place into an unlighted place with maybe just light coming in from outside. And it was dangerous. If you know anything about restrooms back then… For me it was rough, it was very rough. I was very angry.

Charles Marsh: You had not experienced this before?

VGA: No, I had not experienced this before. Not in that manner. When I went to Detroit, I went on the train and of course, the trains were segregated but as you get out of the South, they were not. Being segregated was not a problem, what I considered was an awful lot, but it was not the problem within itself. As long as we had all the facilities we needed to have direct care. But this was different. Coming on a bus where you've been riding with fellow human beings, sharing the same facilities and then all of the sudden being put in a position where you are no longer able to share. And there is a tremendous difference in the quality of the facility. For me, that was revealed there.

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