Saw such a moving show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art by the African-American illustrator, Jerry Pinkney, a Philadelphia-born children’s book illustrator who won many awards and has contributed so much to the field of graphic art.
Standing before one of his works illustrating two sinks attached to the same plumbing line, one a small basin that had the sign COLORED above it and next to it, a more expensive model with a vanity that said WHITES, I began exchanging stories with an African American man next to me who looked like he was in his seventies. He said, “Living up north, I didn’t experience this, but when I went to South Carolina to visit relatives, I remember we had to sit in the balcony while the white folks had the best seats downstairs. Me and my cousin didn’t know that until we raced downstairs and my big cousin came after us. ‘Get out of there,’ she whispered, but her face looked like she was screaming. We said, `Why?’ She said `Move on upstairs and I’ll tell you why,’ and that’s how I found out what my Southern relatives were going through.
I told him how scared my father, a Russian Jew, was about possibly getting pulled over by a policeman when he and my mother drove to Florida on their honeymoon, but with bravado, he claimed that he was going to go straight to a bar and ask for “Slivovitz mit hominy grits.”