Midland couple reminisces on living through segregation

Midland couple reminisces on living through segregation

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Midland has come a long way since the 1900. A certain group has felt the change more than others.

William and Carolyn Palmer have lived in Midland their whole lives, including when it was segregated.

Both have known each other since kindergarten and have been married for more than 50 years.

They're reminiscing on what it was like to live in the small community they were secluded to.

"We walked into the Tower Theater and it had a sign with an arrow that pointed up and it said 'For Coloreds.' So we went upstairs for the movie and there weren't bathrooms so you had to use it before you got there or if you had to go to the bathroom you had to leave and couldn't come back," said Carolyn Palmer.

African-Americans were segregated to a small side of Midland.

William Palmer was part of the first football and basketball team to win state championships. He said when their children learned about segregation they didn't believe it.

"Say for instance when they started the civil rights movement and the water hose were put on the people and the dogs were put on the people, my daughter said, 'That's not true.' and I said, 'Yes it was.'"

The Palmers said the community was loving and tight knit so it wasn't so bad.

"We didn't realize we were missing out on anything because there was so much love and so many people that cared and we had everything we needed right here in the neighborhood," said Carolyn.

Another thing that helped is they found ways to have fun.

"They had a club here called The Swanky Club and The Cobra Club," said William.

Believe it or not, big names came to these small places.

"I remember seeing James Brown, Al Green and Ike and Tina Turner," said Carolyn.

With Black History Month here, William and Carolyn are proud of what they've overcome.

"It was a struggle," said Carolyn. "It was a struggle when you woke up black and breathing. You're in a place you didn't ask to be and if you overcame that I think it should be recognized."

Several events are happening for Black History Month, for more information click here.

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