Inside stores, goods for sale; items to fill dreams. Picture windows, stylish mannequins, exotic scenery whetted appetites. Pleasant, friendly sales people and clerks. Prices that fit your budget.
Policeman at major intersections; directing traffic, keeping a watchful eye. Tipping hats to the ladies; a hardy hello to the guys; a head pat for the kids.
A park with benches and trees; a place to rest from shopping, relief from the sun. Birds and squirrels played by the cool, refreshing fountain. Dogs and their owners practiced their hunting skills. A statue: hometown hero, ancient war. People gathered, children ran and played. Old people sat and talked. Lovers huddled.
A soda shop full of people; food, cold drinks, magazines, and toys. Maybe a pharmacist in back. Teenagers gathered, pulling younger siblings in tow. Young love: pretty girls and clumsy boys. Talk about school and teachers; new neighbors; the preacher’s daughter; home team game.
Barbershops refreshed regulars, and passers through. Beauty shops kept women interesting. Men and women patrons passed all the current news, and gossip. Someone reading aloud the local newspaper fueled many a hot dispute.
On Main Street, all the people envisioned above are white. But not exclusively. Black people entering Main Street dotted the general white surroundings because they worked there, or were summoned there by police or business owners.
When their work or business was over; they were expected to leave Main Street. None were allowed on Main Street after dark; unless for work. After dark the police practiced different skills. No longer traffic control; now control of Black people.
While on Main Street: Black people could not shop, eat, drink, or rest. Posted signs defined movement of Blacks: not welcome, stay out. Entering a business without an invitation brought scorn and stares. Sitting on a park bench would bring frightful responses: name-calling to bodily harm.
Would a return to these halcyon days bring racial peace back to America?