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Mamie ClarkMamie Clark
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I think I became acutely aware of that in childhood, because you always had to have a certain kind of protective armor about you, all the time. You weren't suffering from it, but you had to be on guard all the time, and you learned how to bury your? You learned the things not to do. You learned which streets not to go to, when you were going to high school, so as to protect yourself.

It happened that the white school and the black school were at opposite ends of the town, so the white children would come from this end to go to that end, and we would come from that end to go to this end, so we had to pass each other.

So you had to develop all kinds of protective measures, really just to get by and not get into fights, which a lot of children did.

Also, we had that in the stores. In that town, it happened that my father was a well-respected black person, and it was a phenomenon that is not really unusual in the South, that even in the highly segregated situations, you will have a few blacks who are permitted to cross certain lines. For example, to go to certain stores and be waited on. Not restaurants, but stores with merchandise.

My father was one of those people. We had certain access to certain kinds of things, like merchandise stores, drug stores, variety stores, that other people didn't have, or that other people didn't take advantage of. So that you were always aware of which way you could go, which way you couldn't go, and what you could do and what you couldn't do, so you knew there was a real chasm, really, between the races.

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