15. The Mecca

By |2021-03-22T03:03:26+00:00January 16th, 2021|Lloyd Johnson|

WELCOME  Racism was my introduction to Washington, D.C., my nation’s capital. Arriving by train at the cavernous Union Station in early September 1949, I had all my worldly belongings in a single suitcase. It was an unseasonably warm, sunny day outside and I easily found my way to the taxicab stand to begin the newest chapter of my life at the Mecca for Black college students, Howard University.   There were two lines at the cab stand and, of course, I chose the shorter one – only to be told by the white dispatcher that, “your line” (AKA the line for Black people) was the longer line off to the side. He said it as casually as if he was directing me to the local post office. I was shocked and humiliated by this overtly discriminatory statement. He was so matter-of-fact. Racial segregation, I quickly realized, was an integral part of life [...]