My cousin drove up from Maryland and brought a bottle of Limited Edition Old Bay Hot Sauce (the hot peppers are from my garden, thankfully not super-hot). The visit prompted my dad to tell one of his stories while we sat distanced on the back porch.
When they were in High School in Baltimore in the 1940s, my dad and uncle would take the streetcar to school. My uncle frequently cut school for the day (one of his teachers called my grandmother and told her that my uncle had done better on a test than any other student she’d had who had missed so many days of class). He’d get off the streetcar and go downtown while my dad stayed on to get to school. Sometimes their friend Newtie went with my uncle. If they didn't have any money then they'd often sit in the gallery at the Court House and watch the court proceedings to pass the time. Many years later my dad talked to Newtie at a neighborhood reunion. Newtie told my dad that watching what went on in that court room was a real education — seeing over and over that a white man and Black man convicted of the same crime were treated differently. The white man was given parole and the Black man was sent to prison. It was clear to those teenagers sitting in that Baltimore Court House 75 years ago that there was no justice, rather there was blatant institutional racism.