Biography: Influences
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The Times
Other people in the neighborhood looked at Morris Sr. that way too. It wasn't a big secret. Those people grew up in the South after the Civil War. But after the Civil War, revulsion of the blacks still exist and this was evident in the cotton farming system. The society of the South was designed to keep blacks down, by not letting them have the jobs, rights, or property that they wanted and needed. Wages in the 1940s after the Depression were horrible. They were still horrible in the late 1940s. A black man would earn $3.00 a day and $1.50 a day for women and children. But these wages were only during cotton season. During the winter, they weren't need and thus not paid. It's a wonder how they managed to make a living year round.

Because the Dees worked with the blacks in the fields, they had a first hand experience with them. They learned early on that these were people too, regardless of their skin color. The other people had no intimate interaction with them whatsoever and their apathy made them cold when it came to the issue of the emotions and treatments of the blacks.

Interaction is an important element of tolerance. No one truly understands anyone else without having met the other person. Morris Jr. was told to behave a certain way by society. But he looked at his world around him i n the perspective that his father put out for him. Without the perspective he had along with the interaction, he never would have understood. He never would have realized that deep down blacks and whites were the same. Flesh and blood, mind and soul, we are all the same.



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