Since the Canadian Prime Minister is in hot water and all the folks that have ever made what seems to be criminal offense back in the day are now being called out and criticized I figure it is time I “fessed up”. So here we go……….
Sometime back in the very early sixties my church up in the mountains of Colorado was invited by the city to enter a float in a parade for the town special summer festival. We decided to make a real float and not just drive down main street with a sign on a trailer. We got a Willy’s Jeep and put a platform on it and we made a globe out of chicken wire and put it on there. Then we took napkins and put them in the chicken wire holes and made the image of the earth, with seas and oceans and continents. One of the mining engineers rigged up an apparatus in such a way that someone in the back of the jeep just behind the driver could turn a handle and the earth rotated. Behind the globe was a rather large and imposing image of Jesus that I believe was painted by one of our church ladies. The sign on the float sides read, He’s got the whole world in His hands”, and the Bible notation from Matthew 28 and the great commission. Standing on the platform as we drove down Main Street in granny gear was to be children from all races and you guessed it , we had most of the races covered except a black child. I think a child from the orient was an issue too but the child was wearing a kimono from Okinawa and it worked. Our issue was trying not to discriminate by leaving a race out so……… you guessed it; we did the unpardonable. We put up a child in black face. It may have even been me. The reason I can’t remember if it was me is because I was the model that they practiced on to get the make up right. The makeup was cold cream laid on thinly and then a cork was burned and the charcoal left was rubbed on ever the cream. It worked. I might not have been on the float but I was once in black face.
The float was absolutely amazing. We drove over a mile and a half and no one got killed. No one fell of and the audiences loved it and we won the Grand Prize. We won the next year too and the year after. Our floats were so good that eventually the city placed religious floats in a different category so we were ineligible for the grand prize. Of course there is nothing discriminatory about that.
Since I am bearing my soul I was a part of the production in High School of “Finnian’s Rainbow”. a musical with some great songs and a scene wherein a racist white Senator is turned black. I participated in making the smoke that covered the stage so we could put the dreaded black face on a while man. Even though the play and the movie were specifically anti – racist doesn’t seem to matter anymore so I guess I am sorry about that too.