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Summary: Billy is undercover in the Spring of 1964. Warning--use of the n-word.
Rated: Teen
Categories: Scarecrow and Mrs. King Characters: Billy Melrose
Genres: Drama
Warnings: Language
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 2 Completed: Yes
Word count: 8579 Read: 1050
Published: 20/12/15 Updated: 20/12/15
Story Notes:
(Note and Warning—this story takes place mostly in the summer of 1964 and before, during the Civil Rights movement. I use Negro as the term denoting people we now call black. I even occasionally use the “n-word” because it was everywhere in those days. You could regularly hear it on TV, with no disclaimer or opprobrium. That's how some people talked in those days. And I was alive then, make no mistake. Not as aware as I could have been, but my memories of all that came from TV, and what my parents and other adults said about it all, and people were presented very differently in those unenlightened days.

Obviously, I am a white female, so writing from the point of view of a black man is a stretch, but I feel I have gotten into Billy's head pretty deeply, and there are so few stories about him out there. He has a past at the Agency, and deducing from his age (assuming he was born in 1932) and his probable career—fighting in Korea, college and law school afterward and recruitment by Harry V. Thornton—I thought about what his career might have been like. And being on the ground at the start of the Civil Rights movement is a natural.

We all know the FBI and CIA had plants and informants in the movement. But presuming Harry was progressive—he did hire Billy—only the Agency would have black operatives in place. In the 60's the US Government was very concerned by the racial unrest—there was a strong feeling that there might be an actual race war that would tear the country apart. This was a real fear in the minds of the majority white populace at the time, both North and South. And after the assassination of President Kennedy, the stakes for violence had been upped exponentially. Activists like Martin Luther King and Malcom X were viewed as being the masterminds, having legions of negros behind them—people they could order about and send to incite violence whenever and whenever they needed it. Despite the message those men tried valiantly to preach. Perception was everything, and the perception was wildly out of sync with the real aims and goals of the movement.

This was a biased and warped view of what was going on in the early '60's. But there was little mixing in those days—even in the north segregation was the written or unwritten rule of the land. Negroes were present, mostly as waiters, porters, cooks, janitors, maids and other occupations that whites considered beneath them. Negro professionals, doctors, lawyers and so forth served their own community exclusively. Few whites would trust themselves to a 'colored' doctor. Few people were aware of—or even cared—about the day-to-day life of the negro race. Most whites felt they were benevolent, kind and very liberal in giving 'those people' jobs and hand-me-down clothes and goods. Kind white ladies took great pride in sending Christmas baskets to the Negro Churches every year. It was charity befitting good Christian people—like sending missionaries to Africa to convert the heathens.

So realize it was a very different world we are dealing with, and the restrictions and social conventions for a man like Billy were real and had heavy consequences for those who would buck the system. And that's what makes Harry and Billy such extraordinary people. They were pioneers in making a new world with their actions. It wasn't easy or even comfortable, but they were committed to making the US a better place, and by their actions they did what they could.

The events depicted are real. Billy and his friends have been inserted into the story, but there were many blacks in the movement who went unnamed and unremarked. Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael), Cleveland Sellers, H. Rap Brown, and Gloria Richardson are real players in the events that went down. Unrest was not confined to the South alone. Maryland was a Union state in the Civil War. But segregation was just as real there as in the South.)

1. Part 1 by Ermintrude [Reviews - 0] (3865 words)
Thanks are due to Jennifer C and Cheryl for their beta efforts. You guys make my stories better.

2. Part 2 by Ermintrude [Reviews - 0] (4714 words)
(Warning—a character uses the 'n-word'. This was a commonly heard idiom in the US and on TV in early 1964. If you are offended, don't read. )

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