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Story pick: Segregated high school reunion

When I was a reporter in South Carolina many years ago, I was sent to cover a high school reunion. The fact that everyone in the room was white was not the story. The school had been segregated until fairly recently. Neither was the story - to me, anyway - the startlingly racist impersonation of an uneducated African American with a thick Low Country accent as the reunion's entertainment program. The performer apparently pulled this shtick at every gathering. If memory serves, I think I was supposed to write about how nice it was for these old friends to see each other again after all these years.

Race, though it was screaming loudly all around the story, was not to be mentioned.

So it was with great pleasure that I read Robert Samuels' much braver piece in the Miami Herald about a high school reunion that, though the school had been integrated, had been having segregated gatherings for the last 30 years.

He describes the night:

"The scene at Saturday night's dinner dance at Bahia Mar: A group of white men and women sat at six full tables, munching on chicken and grilled vegetables. To get the crowd on its feet, the DJ started spinning Cupid Shuffle.

Over the Intracoastal Waterway Bridge, at the Embassy Suites Hotel, their black classmates were sitting around 13 full dinner tables. Waiters served beef and grilled vegetables. In a moment of surreal coincidence, the DJ there also was spinning the Cupid Shuffle.

It has been like this for at least 30 years: Two reunions planned by two different committees, held at different times at different hotels."

A good piece that addresses the sticky and often uncomfortable question of race honestly and head on.

By segregation, high school reunion, Miami Herald, Robert Samuels,  | August 12, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
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