Thursday, August 14, 2014

Missouri: The Home of Hate

At one point in my career my title was Assistant to the President of the University of Missouri System. People never seem to equate Missouri with Alabama, forgetting that the Missouri compromise meant the state was half slave and half free.
While I lived in Columbia, the home of the flagship University of Missouri campus, the mayor told Black residents if they didn't like it there they could leave.  By working on the committee to get the University's endowment out of South Africa I met some wonderful people who told me what it was like to  live in a town where their skin tone made a large difference.
But it didn't stop with race relations. I once asked the Chancellor of the Columbia campus whether there were many Jews on the faculty and whether the University encouraged them to come there. His answer was: "Why would they want to come?"
At a truck stop in Missouri I once heard a group of people comparing Blacks with monkeys. The conversation was very loud and could be heard throughout the truck stop.
Soon after, I found another job that extricated me from the home of hatred.