Daily Update: Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

05-17 - Brown and Graduation

With no Saints to honor this Tuesday, we note that on this date in 1954 the United States Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, and that on this date in 1976 (precisely forty years ago, back when a web site was where the spiders hung out) I graduated from Salmen High School in Slidell, Louisiana (Go Spartans!). Today is also the birthday of my Aunt Diane in Connecticut and of one of my co-workers at the casino, Tracey, who works on the day shift at the casino (1969).

For much of the ninety years preceding the Brown case, race relations in the United States had been dominated by racial segregation. This policy had been endorsed in 1896 by the United States Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson, which held that as long as the separate facilities for the separate races were “equal,” segregation did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment (“no State shall… deny to any person… the equal protection of the laws.”). The plaintiffs in Brown asserted that this system of racial separation, while masquerading as providing separate but equal treatment of both white and black Americans, instead perpetuated inferior accommodations, services, and treatment for black Americans. The decision of the Supreme Court was that segregation of students in public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, because separate facilities are inherently unequal, and that the District Court of Kansas decision in the case was thus reversed. It is frequently thought that Brown was the first legal challenge to racially segregated schools in the United States. In fact, it was the eleventh case to challenge the 1879 Kansas law (which permitted (but did not require) districts to maintain separate elementary school facilities for black and white students in twelve communities with populations over 15,000), and the third case from Topeka. While there were high-profile objections to school desegregation (notably by Senator Harry F. Byrd, Sr. in Virginia, and by George F. Wallace in Alabama), there were no disturbances when the public schools were desegregated in Topeka, Kansas. I was quite ignorant when I graduated from high school on this date in 1976 (precisely forty years ago, in my transition lens glasses and long hair) of any of the details of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, I only knew that we did indeed have black kids in our class (though we didn’t much associate with them), that our class song was ”Theme to Mahogany” (which we had to sing during the graduation ceremony in the gym; the girls were to sing soprano, which is far beyond my extraordinarily modest vocal skills, then and now), and that the party I went to afterwards consisted mostly of people standing around drinking beer, which was pretty boring. My high school was damaged so heavily by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that they tore down what the hurricane left and put up a whole new school; I do hope that the school band has a better building now than they did while I was playing clarinet in the band (the Band Building was a portable building out back, and impossible to get into (or out of) during heavy rains). And I have never yet been to one of my high school reunions; I feel I would be out of place, since I don’t smoke, I don’t dream of living in a double-wide, and I am still with my first husband. Today is also the birthday of my Aunt Diane in Connecticut and of my co-worker at the casino, Tracey (1969).

We woke up half an hour early, and I posted to Facebook that today was the anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, and posted that today was the fortieth anniversary of my graduation from high school. I did my Book Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading.

When we got to work we sat in the Hallway to Nowhere, we waited until 2:20 am, when Richard went to the Shift Office to get the Early Out list. I went out onto the casino floor a few minutes later and went to the pit where the Early Out list lives (once it has arrived from the Shift Office). I noticed that on the counter in the pit there was a blank Early Out List sheet, with no time stamp (there is a time stamp machine in the Shift Office), and with “Day Shift” printed on it. I paid it no attention, because it had nothing to do with me, and did not even see fit to mention it to Richard when he brought the Early Out list sheet with “Grave Shift” printed on it, and a time stamp, that he had gotten straight from the Pencil in the Shift Office. We signed the list (as the first and second dealers) and went to hang out in ADR until it was time to clock in. Richard was on Mini Baccarat, and I was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat, Pai Gow, and (once) for the Three Card Blackjack table. At 4:20 am, when I came back to break Richard the second time, I heard that there were two Early Out lists; the one Richard and I had signed, which had three people on it when we had clocked in, and another Early Out list, which turned out to be the blank Early Out List sheet, with no time stamp, and with “Day Shift” printed on it. Either the dealers who signed the “Day Shift” list were hoping that their list would be considered to be the list, or the first person who grabbed it did not notice that it was not the real Early Out list (which is far more likely). I passed on the word that the the blank Early Out List sheet, with no time stamp, and with “Day Shift” printed on it, had been out on the counter when we signed the Graves Early Out list, and held my tongue about my other thoughts (I was not having a good day, anyway).

Richard and I got out at 5:45 am (being the first people out; the Pencil, who knew that Richard had gotten the Graves Early Out list, since the pencil had handed it to Richard in the Shift Office, had said of the people who signed the Day Shift list, “Some people are in for a rude awakening”). We stopped at Wal-Mart on the way home, and Richard got barbeque supplies and some cash. We arrived home at 7:00 am, and I went back to bed.

I did not wake up again until 1:00 pm, feeling much better, with my hamsters under control. (Richard and I have said for years that when one of us has his or her mind racing with increasing paranoid or delusional thoughts, that it’s like the hamsters on the exercise wheel going wild.) I had a text message to the effect that, due to the financial problems that the State of Louisiana is currently having, the Louisiana Sales Tax Holiday for Hurricane Preparedness (held on the last consecutive Saturday and Sunday in May) will not be in effect this year. (I will wait to change my Advance Daily Update Drafts for this weblog for those dates, as the Louisiana Legislature is still in session, and the Tax Holiday may yet come back.) I read the morning paper and ate my lunch salad, and came to the computer to work on my weblog. My shipment of bras was delivered; I now only have to get my new rust (orange) shirt from Uniforms to have all new clothes for work (not counting my shoes). I worked on Advance Daily Update Drafts all day, taking a break to watch Jeopardy! at 4:30 pm. At 7:00 pm we ate barbequed pork steaks, steamed brussels sprouts, and baked beans (Richard had purchased whole sweet potatoes for me at Wal-Mart, but they never made it home). At 8:30 pm I figured I had done enough work on my weblog for the time being, and came back to today’s Daily Update. Our #8 ranked LSU Tigers are playing their final non-conference regular season College Baseball game with Northwestern State; I will record the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint John I, Pope and Martyr (died 526). And tomorrow is the first of three Ember Days for this season of the year. I will do my laundry and the Weekly Computer Maintenance; otherwise, I do not have anything planned for tomorrow.

Our Parting Quote this on this Tuesday evening comes to us from Margaret Dunning, American businesswoman and philanthropist. Born in 1910 in Redford, Michigan, she spent her first thirteen years on a dairy and potato farm owned by her father, located at the corner of Plymouth and Telegraph roads in Redford Township, Michigan, and developed a lifelong interest in tinkering with old cars. The 156-acre farm had been purchased by her grandparents, who were original settlers in the area. When her father died in 1923, Margaret and her mother moved into Redford and later to the village of Plymouth. Her mother purchased property in the village and built the home where they resided. Dunning attended the country school where her father was a student, and was then sent to Dana Hall, a private school in Wellesley, Massachusetts. She returned to Plymouth in 1927 and graduated from the local high school in 1929. She attended the University of Michigan for two years, but had to drop out due to the Depression, and then studied at the Hamilton Business School in Ypsilanti. In the early 1930s Dunning briefly worked making voltage regulators at the Phoenix Mill Ford plant in Plymouth, a Ford Village Industries plant that employed only women. She worked as a bank teller and assistant cashier for the First National Bank of Plymouth between 1935 and 1940. During that time, she was among the victims of a bank robbery. The bank robber, Willard Long, was eventually caught in East St. Louis, Illinois, and extradited back to Michigan. After the First National Bank, she went to work at the Plymouth United Savings Bank for several years. Dunning’s largest impact on the Plymouth community was in her volunteer and charitable endeavors that began in 1942. From 1942 to 1945 Dunning served as a volunteer in the local American Red Cross motor pool, driving a truck. In 1947 Dunning and her mother purchased a property and building to house the Plymouth branch of the Wayne County Library System. Because of their generosity, the city renamed the branch the Dunning Branch. Also in 1947 Dunning purchased Goldstein’s Apparel on Main Street in Plymouth and renamed the store Dunning’s. In 1950 she moved Dunning’s Department Store to Forest Avenue in downtown Plymouth, about two blocks away. She sold Dunning’s in 1968 to Minerva Chaiken, and the store became known as Minerva-Dunning’s. Dunning served on the board of the Community Federal Credit Union in Plymouth from 1962 to 1984 and was president of the board for nineteen of those years. The assets of the credit union increased from $1 million and one office to $40 million and six offices during Dunning’s tenure on the board. She served on other local boards, including the Board of Directors of the Dunning Branch of the Wayne County Library. Dunning was a permanent member of the Plymouth Historical Society’s Board of Directors. In 1971 when the Plymouth Historical Society was looking for money to build a new museum building, Dunning stepped forward and donated in excess of $100,000. That donation allowed for the construction of a 15,000-square-foot building to house the historical artifacts of the community. Dunning was in the first group of 16 individuals inducted into the Plymouth Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Plymouth Kiwanis Club, on August 11th, 1980. In 1985 she donated a restored 1906 Ford Model N to the Gilmore Car Museum at Hickory Corners, Michigan. She also donated a 1930 Cadillac convertible to the museum. Dunning still drove one of her cars in the annual Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit each August up into her centenarian years. The Community Federal Credit Union in Plymouth established the Margaret Dunning Scholarship Fund in 1989 in her honor for her contributions to the Plymouth community. In 1997 Dunning established the Margaret Dunning Foundation as a private grantmaking foundation, which also gives occasional grants to the Plymouth Historical Museum.In 1998 the Plymouth Historical Society purchased a sizeable collection of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia from Dr. Weldon Petz. By this time the museum was at capacity and had nowhere to store or exhibit the new collection. Again Dunning stepped forward, this time with a $1 million donation to add an additional 9,800 square feet to the museum building on two floors. In 1912, at the age of 102, feeling a need to complete whatever she had begun in life, she applied to the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) hoping to complete her bachelor’s degree in business. Dunning was accepted, and subsequently was awarded a 100% tuition scholarship, provided to her by the Fram Group (which also provided her with free car care products for the remainder of her life) (died 2015): “There’s a beautiful world, so take advantage of it. Of all the beautiful people and the inventions and things, enjoy them and participate in them.”


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