"i wish i lived in the 50s" the white girl says. "it was just so much more classier back then.." in an instant, ‘whites only’ signs reappear on public areas. black people are being chased down the streets with dogs and fire hoses. a white sheet begins to materialize itself on to her. she is now leading the woman’s ku klux klan revolution. white power.
A hush falls over a normally busy city street as the sun begins to ease it’s behind municipal buildings, almost as though it doesn’t want to be present for what evil may come. Black people quickly and quietly leave their places of business. Their heart beats steadily increasing in pace as they wait outside for the bus to come. A small, copper colored woman with thick, dark hair that was pressed down into a nearly scalp tight bun hold’s anxiously rummages through her purse for a pocket watch. ” Where is it…” Lip stick, cigarettes, church programs, coins, medicine, all seemed to collectively decide that it was best to bury her bus schedule.
"Doris, it’s coming down round the corner now." The voice of her next door neighbor, the tall and immaculately dressed mullato Jonas Crawford came right over her shoulder just as the panic of near darkness was surrounding them.
The City of Darlington was a Sundown Town. As in Negroes, Colored folk, Niggers, Darkies, were not permitted inside the gates after the night settled down upon the earth like Grim reapers cloak.
Doris was still shaking. Her small gloved hands fumbled with the clasp of her purse until it snapped. Jonas’s weary grey eyes caught her large dark ones with gentle concern. He was there when the those teenagers caught her after work one night. They nearly beat her to death and had been her savior in that moment, risking his life to protect her from rape and death.
She had missed the bus after Young Dawson asked her to stay late. She was the secretary for the Mayor of Darlington. Dawson was a slight wisp of a man with red hair and stone colored freckles that seemed to darken when he was angered. Which was often.
He considered himself sympathetic to the plight of the colored man. His family came to America as poor Irish immigrants. His father, a widower raised Dawson and his 4 brothers alone. He was able to buy a small farm right as people began to pour into Darlington. Soon, he found himself rich. Rich enough to buy more land, slaves, and buy several businesses in town.
Dawson didn’t agree with his father’s practices of owning people….He found it cruel. He could hear the dark people crying in the night sky. He saw them whipped and tortured. He loved playing with the child servants that bore a eerily similar appearance to him down to the freckles and greenish grey eyes…
But when the War came then later slavery was abolished he lost his friends. His dad still managed to keep his land and his money. 20 years later young Dawson became the Mayor of Darlington by a landslide vote bought by a lot of his father’s money and influence.
He was a proud man. So hearing that one of his employees was brutalized in front of his office angered him. But not enough to lift the Sundown Ordinance. Instead he put her on paid leave and quietly doubled her salary. Doris was the best secretary he ever had the pleasure of working with and the most beautiful woman he ever saw, the sweetest he had the pleasure of knowing. A secret he kept tucked in the deepest parts of his heart.He watched from his window to make sure Doris got on the bus safely once she returned to work and even considered providing a car.
Doris shivered,leaning slightly against Jonas as rattling tin can of a bus approached and Dawson, from the darkness of his window, scowled.