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Not Politically Correct

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Old 09-19-2016, 01:14 PM
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,573

*Glad those days are over*
Steamboating colleagues:
Thanks, Jim, for sharing the above very "Not Politically Correct" photos of what it was like THEN with us all here NOW. We talked about this at S&D this past weekend. There are other similar photos and I have a few here like it. This happened just not on the GORDON C. GREENE but other packet and steam tourist boats through the years. I've seen movies also of the crew, roustabouts, children on the levee dancing etc. for the passengers. The now inexcusable part was the passengers who watched all from the deck above, tossed coins and dollar bills down. Years back, on the other hand, many of these crew men in the evening would strum/play their instruments down on the deck below with their songs, voices wonderful. In the very early morning before the day began on the boat [DQ] you could hear the crew way below reading scripture, singing, clapping in a rousing 'juba' song. I'll never forget that long as I live.

But make no mistake. Capt. Tom Greene, his brother Chris and the family were devoted to their crew more than we think. If a roustabout, cook house employee etc. fell ill or were injured, Capt. Tom and others personally rushed them to the hospital, paid for medical treatment. In later years more than one devoted Black employee was buried at the expense of the Greene family. Jane Greene and I have talked about this more than once. Many of those devoted workers were with the GREENE LINE for generations until the very last. I even had a number of their children and grandchildren in my classes and school first when I taught; then moved to the office in administration. I agree with Ron that it was just not Politcal but "wrong."

When I talked back then with some of these people on the boats, or later their families, I learned fast that their view, memories, history of "wonderful, romantic, beautiful old time steamboat life, rolling, splashing red paddlewheel" was far from reality--for them. No problem discussing this here as literature, museums of the Black experience write and display it openly in a dialogue of experience and understanding. I do know what I saw then and know now.

R. Dale Flick
Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati
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