1967: Christian Classmates?

Charles Marsh: Most of the 8th and 9th graders, were they Baptist, were they Presbyterian?

Spencer Perkins: All systems. I remember around the same time, the Supreme Court disallowed prayer in public schools and they had a fit. The 8th graders in my class, they just totally ignored that. There was not way that they were going to tell them they couldn't pray in school. They saw no contradictions in how they treated me and Christianity.

CM: Did you think about that at the time, that contradiction?

SP: Oh yeah.

CM: How did you make sense of that?

SP: I didn't think that they were Christians. In fact, I didn't think white people could be Christians until I was in maybe high school… I didn't think Southern white people could be Christians. We knew some white people in California who were decent. But in my little world there, I just assumed that… because I studied in my house - we studied the Bible - I knew the Bible. It was totally a contradiction, to be honest.

CM: Were there any situation in which you and a white child, a white boy and girl, talked about the Bible or Christianity or faith in school?

SP: I talked about it with a white teacher once, but not a student. Never happened.

CM: So they were hypocrites. They professed Jesus Christ as Lord but their lives so totally contradicted that tin…

SP: Just in that one area.

CM: That area of race.

SP: Race.

CM: But that area canceled out the whole thing.

SP: For me it did. But not for them. It was like all the other stuff, they were normal Christians as far as children can be Christians in Junior high school.

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