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.