My grandmother worked in a doll making factory when she was a young woman. She had only a high school education, but she was earnest and hardworking and wanted a better life for her family. My grandmother had three daughters, two of whom went on to receive a college education and ascend into the ranks of the middle class. Those three children had their own mess of children, three of whom were able to get their Bachelor’s and one who was able to get a Master’s degree. When my grandmother was a girl, she adapted to a segregated life. When my mother was a girl, she also had to use separate facilities. When I was a girl, I got to use the same bathrooms as everyone else.
The reason I mention this is to give some actual perspective on just how short a period of time has elapsed since oppression was the legal standard and vehemently protected. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 happened a mere 47 years ago. Not 100 years ago. Not 75 years ago. Not even 50 years ago. I am part of the first generation in my family who has never experienced the sting of legal segregation. The first.