Regular Americans Speak Out Part 6 Drug Dealer and Civil Rights Organizer

A series of essays from various regular Americans on love, work, and life in these United States including a drug dealer and a civil rights organizer.

America Speaks

FRANK, drug seller, Berkeley, Calif.

"I was driving on the Nimitz Freeway at around 2 o'clock in the afternoon one day, completely stoned on acid, when a cop pulled me over to the side. I was really freaked out and was sure I was going to get busted, so I rolled up all the windows of my car and refused to even let the cop speak to me. This made the cop so mad that he started screaming for me to roll down the window, he cursed and yelled for about 3 minutes when all of a sudden I rolled down the window and said in a very cool voice, 'I'll have 2 hamburgers and an order of fries.' This remark, instead of infuriating him, actually made him laugh and he told me he was at 1st going to give me a speeding ticket but decided to let me off with a warning instead." (From: America in Legend by Richard M. Dorson. New York, Pantheon Books, 1973.)

MAGGIE MAE HORTON, civil rights organizer, Fayette County, Tenn.

"Law and order. We got the best laws in Tennessee. I don't think they got no better in Washington. But we don't go by 'em. We don't enforce 'em. I don't fight the law, I fight the white crackers and the white churchgoin' people. We don't only have a problem with our law enforcement, we have a problem with our best citizens--both black and white. . . . That's the biggest problem we have here--of gettin' involved. . . .

"Even the ministers, they wanta stay outa this. They say, 'We gonna stay here and pray till Shiloh come.' Hell, Shiloh here. Anytime a white man can beat you up and do what he want--come to your house, kick you outside--Shiloh hasn't got here? To me, I ain't waitin'. Jesus ain't doin' nothin' for me. He give me my hands and knowledge to do it. All I need is just give me the strength and I'll do the thing myself. That's what we gonna work forward to--trying to get peoples to quit waitin' for God to come do somethin' for 'em. You know, we ain't afraid as we used to be, but we have a custom of what have been taught us all our lives, that God gonna feed you. We don't have enough knowledge to know that it's already picked. All we have to do is get up and get it." (From: Our Portion of Hell by Robert Hamburger. New York, Links Books, 1973.)

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