Freedom was still elusive for Black Alabamans on this hot July 1965 holiday. But we escaped to the Bessie W. Munden Playground just outside Camden to play in the pool, eat watermelon and talk about the future when everyone was equal. This playground was made possible by Mrs. Bessie W. Munden, a teacher who asked/pressured : ) every teacher at Camden Academy to contribute $20 a year to buy this parcel of land that to this day is the main recreational park in Wilcox County. At that time, it was known as “The Negro Playground”, since the children were not allowed to play in any of the white parks or common areas, not even the state park. The story of our integrating the old pool is told in an earlier post. Independence Day at Bessie W. Munden Playground
To all the freedom fighters then and now, remember what Independence means, take a deep breath and then, continue the fight for equality, justice and peaceful progressive action. We have come a long way, but we are not the dream still eludes us. Peace & love, Maria
EM Parrish Day Care Children Left to Right:
Mylka Hayden, Isaiah Love, Richard Chatmon, Torrence Phillips, Jamarion Wright photo © Samuel Torres Jr 2008.