Tears of Solidarity

Schwalbe, Michael
http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/03/20/tears-of-solidarity/

Publisher:  CounterPunch
Date Written:  20/03/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20574

The story of Ann Atwater and Claiborne Paul (C. P.) Ellis is beautifully told in Osha Gray Davidson's book The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South. Atwater, a domestic worker whose parents were sharecroppers, was a civil rights activist in Durham, North Carolina. Ellis, the son of a millhand, was a janitor at Duke University and a local Klan leader. In 1971, after battling each other for years, Atwater and Ellis ended up co-chairing a ten-day public forum -- a "charrette," as it was called -- that brought together black and white community members to address problems in Durham's public schools. It was a fraught process.

Abstract: 
-

Excerpt:

A few months later, at the end of the second day of the charrette, exhausted after twelve hours of meetings, Ellis and Atwater collapsed in adjacent chairs and began to talk to each other more personally. Ellis told Atwater that his kids had been taunted in school because he was working with her. Atwater told Ellis that her kids had gotten the same treatment because she was working with him. They talked about how teachers always seemed to find fault with their kids rather than with kids from more affluent families. Ellis was amazed to learn that Atwater was human and that her problems were much like his own. Davidson's account of this scene leaves no doubt that it was a transformative moment.

Subject Headings