Dorothy Flood, who was forced to ride in the “black-only” car on the train as a child, was granted her wish of riding in a first class dining car by the Wish of a Lifetime Foundation.
The dream was 60 years in the making, but 75-year-old Dorothy Flood was finally able to fulfill a dream that many Americans have taken for granted all their lives. Dorothy Flood grew up in the time of a segregated south where whites were allowed to ride in the dining cars while blacks were relegated to the cars in the rear of the train designated for negroes only.
Dorothy recalls looking through the glass to the dining car and seeing the white children eating at tables with white linen tablecloths and fine silver as she and her grandmother were forced to eat their lunch out of a shoebox.
“I would ask my grandmother why we couldn’t sit in the dining car” Dorothy recalled in a recent interview with Andrea Mitchell of Andrea Mitchell Reports. While speaking to NPR Flood recalls "It didn't make any sense because I was going to school with them. I lived next to them. But now that I crossed that Mason-Dixon Line, I couldn't be with them? I didn't understand it."
In the summers Dorothy (whose parents were killed in a car accident) would travel with her grandmother from Jersey City, NJ to North Carolina. On the first leg of the journey she sat where she pleased. When she had to change trains however at the Mason-Dixon Line she would have to run all the way to the back of the train to get to the black only” cars. As a child she did what she was told, and as the years passed she never had the opportunity to ride in the first class section – until Wish of a Lifetime found her.
Wish of a Lifetime is a non-profit organization that grants wishes to elderly people in the later stages of life. Founded by former NFL player Jeremy Bloom, the Foundation heard the story of Ms. Flood and believed it to be a “no-brainer” to grant her wish.
“The elderly are one of the most important groups of people in our society” said Bloom. We started this foundation after seeing how other countries respect their elderly”. Bloom obviously feels that we should do the same here.
The inspiring story of Ms. Flood receiving this simple wish is a reminder of how far we have come in our society, but it is also a reminder of how in our very recent past we still let bigotry and institutional racism take away the human dignity of so many. We salute Ms. Flood and Wish of a Lifetime as they give us hope for our future. We also say loudly. NEVER AGAIN.
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