What Pegman Saw: Maureen Applegate’s Black Bastard

Selma Alabama

Taken from Google Maps

To see him stood like a sentinel beside his suitcase, a photo clutched to his chest, brought unstoppable tears to Maureen’s eyes.

‘That, my boy,’ his father had said, ‘is where we’re to live.’

‘Now you remember,’ Maureen told him. ‘You’re James Harris now.’

His father had officially adopted him. Maureen hadn’t realised it would remove her rights as his mother. ‘I can’t take him to Selma without it,’ he’d said.

And she was white and couldn’t go with them. She cursed that night they met at a dance on Mildenhall Air Base.

But this was best for the boy. Maureen Applegate’s black bastard—what else to expect from that family, the whole lot of them no-gooders, that’s what they said. No, James would do better there, amongst his own kind.


Wordcount: 131

Written for What Pegman Saw

Based on a true story. Maureen never again saw her boy. She died of cancer five years later.

About crispina kemp

Spinner of Asaric and Mythic tales
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29 Responses to What Pegman Saw: Maureen Applegate’s Black Bastard

  1. Violet Lentz says:

    Sad story, especially when I found out it was true. It seems weird that racial segregation still exists to the extent it does in the south as well as other areas, I guess i feel that as a society we are so far removed from it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • crimsonprose says:

      Don’t know what happened, but your comment suddenly disappeared. And I swear I didn’t touch the delete, yet that’s where I found it.
      Anyway, to reply: I should have tagged on the end that this was way back in early 1970s. In those days my part of East Anglia was washday white. The father in the story was the first black I’d seen.

      Like

  2. Man, that is a sad tale. I’m sure it happens all the time, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • crimsonprose says:

      I’m sure it does, though as I’ve just replied to Violet, this was way back in early 1970s, when my part of East Anglia was washday white … except for airmen coming into the city from Mildenhall and Lakenheath.

      Like

  3. k rawson says:

    It’s terrible to think of that kind of racism. How tragic for all parties. Great storytelling though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • crimsonprose says:

      I thank you. Though I really should have made clear that this was early 1970s. The racism in this country is now much reduced. A child of mixed parents would not cause comment. Though those so inclined still find reasons to voice what amounts to xenophobia, as seen when this town received refugees and asylum seekers back at the turn of the Milliennium.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Dale says:

    This is indeed such a sad tale, but beautifully told.
    Brava.

    Like

  5. Joy Pixley says:

    Racism has caused such tragedy for so many people; I can only guess how many sad stories like this there have been, of families torn apart by it, and children taking the brunt of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jen Goldie says:

    Thank God I’ve never witnessed something like this. As a child my school was mixed, the neighbourhood was mixed,and obviously my friends were from many races and colours. My parents friends were as well. I was born in 1951. It is a very good write Crispina, It really touched my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A rough situation. Hopefully everything turned out ok, but knowing how things go… 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  8. pennygadd51 says:

    That’s a very sad story, and you tell it with great art and skill. Poor Maureen – what a loss for her.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. His own kind. Sigh. As if the colour of our skin makes us inhuman. Good story telling. And I read all the comments above and your responses with interest. Nicely told, crimsonprose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • crimsonprose says:

      My thanks for your interest. And I agree … on the matter of colour or anything else. Far-far-far too much prejudice still stalks this world. But, eraticate one cause, another appears. The human condition is to divide into Us and Them.

      Liked by 2 people

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