Stumbling through history.

My Google search history makes me look pretty crazy sometimes:

  • what’s the sign for ‘help’?
  • how much would milk cost in 1948?
  • when do opossums breed?
  • Vietnam war dogs

Thank goodness for technology! It keeps my mid-sentence mind wanderings to a minimum. I can stop, look up the answer, then get back to the task at hand without making a list of research questions for the next time I go to the library.

Sometimes the questions are more serious, or take a little more time to answer, or lead me to fascinating search results that completely waylay my writing—usually in a good way. I learned a few weeks ago about the documentary Through Deaf Eyes, which I couldn’t have edited this thesis without. Through this doc, I learned that white and black ASL (like spoken English) has slang that outsiders might not understand.

Fast forward to this morning: I was writing/editing, and I got to a scene where Ritchie is thinking about some ASL slang he learned from a friend, who learned it from a black bus boy that he worked with at a diner.

Immediately I wondered: wait, would black and whites work together in a white restaurant in 1958 Talladega? My guess was yes, but I wanted to confirm. What I found was my answer (yes, no, sometimes—depends on where and when, and how segregated, and how racist.) But I also found a link to a NYT article, which led me to the trailer for Booker’s Place, a 2012 documentary on Booker Wright. Booker was interviewed in 1966 about his position as a waiter, which he described as “crying on the inside” as he endured racism with a smile. Booker was fired and beaten after the interview, but ultimately opened his own restaurant.

You can find the documentary ($) on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, and YouTube if you want to check it out.

Just a fascinating story I found while Googling and that I wanted to share. Happy Tuesday! Today is my last first day of school ever! (Because I swear, after I graduate, I’m done going to school!)


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