Ferguson: Negro and white (1-5-45)

The Pittsburgh Press (January 5, 1945)


Ferguson: Negro and white

By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

My hometown lies below the Mason-Dixon Line. Yet during the last decade, great progress in racial understanding has been made here. Unless you know something about such progress, which is going on all over this section, it will be well to close your ears to the strident cries of the “liberals” of the Eastern Seaboard who always have found it easier to criticize than to understand the South.

Last Sunday, a Negro hospital was formally opened in my town. I saw profound pleasure upon the faces of those who had worked together to create it. They represent three racial groups – whites, Indians and Negroes – and three religious creeds – Protestant, Catholic and Jew.

The Negroes alone contributed $6,000, the largest sum their group has ever given any city project. Other costs were met by white people.

Not only better racial understanding but active friendship between individuals has been the result of this cooperative effort. There is a new respect among us for Negro leadership and energy, and many Negroes have learned that many white people are concerned about their welfare.

A Negro woman held the hospital project together when it seemed ready to fall apart. With the help of those who appreciated her patient tenacity, she has built a structure better than the one composed of brick and stone – a structure of human understanding.

Hearts and minds as well as hospital doors were opened last Sunday.

How much better such cooperate efforts for a community are than sermons or editorials about tolerance or laws designed to force the intolerant to accept legal measures against their wills.

To know people, you must work with them. When our aims are the same, it’s very easy to forget that our skins are a different color.