The faith in his dream
Robert Sibley, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Saturday, August 23, 2008
Tom Darby is still amazed when he visits his hometown in Georgia and sees blacks and whites dining in the same restaurant. "That's something I still marvel at because it's something I once couldn't imagine," says the Carleton University political philosopher, who was born and raised in Vidalia, a small coastal town near Savannah, Georgia.
As a student at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia in the 1960s, Darby was deeply involved in the civil rights movement, registering black voters at a time when such activities could get you beaten, or worse, by those who wanted to maintain the long-established system of racial discrimination and segregation against blacks in the American South -- Jim Crow, as it was known. "We were young so it didn't seem like it at the time," Darby recalls, "but in hindsight, I realize it was dangerous thing to do."
Yet, it was also the only thing to do. As Darby puts it: "It's hard to believe today that things were like that, how badly blacks were mistreated. Anyone with a conscience had to be opposed to that."