Friday, September 12, 2008

The Bad Old Days. (#1)

Display at the Colorado History Museum.

From my novel A Western Capitol Hill:

“Well, there sure was a lot of racism back in those days,” Garrett comments, as Smiley Joe’s tapping foot and the bends and twangs of his guitar continue to stream out of the speakers.

“Were ‘those days’ these last few years, pray tell? I seem to recall that the Aryan Youth Brigade held an anti-Martin Luther King Day rally at the Capitol not long ago.”

“Ah, that’s small fry. A handful of losers, surrounded by a phalanx of police, complaining about ‘mud people’ and the ‘Zionist Occupational Government,’ while 30 times as many protesters hurl bottles and scream. But that song would have been written just after the 1920s. There was big league and much more upfront racism back then. The Klan held huge rallies near Denver.”

Garrett uses his fingers to count as he continues, “They didn’t like Greeks, didn’t like blacks, and didn’t like Catholics or Jews. They wouldn’t have liked the Chinese, either, but the Chinese were burned out of ‘Chink Alley’ in lower downtown in the late 19th century; let’s just say, it took a while before dim sum returned to Denver. Hell, Mayor Stapleton was a Klansman in the 20s.”

“That didn’t prevent our old airport from being named after him.”

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