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The Truth About Philadelphia

George Ridout
Retired, North Philadelphia


Question #5 What do you believe is the secret to living together peacefully in the city of Philadelphia?

Glenn: Well, well what do you think is is to getting along together? What's the secret to solving those problems?

George: You talking about something that's been here for as long as, uh, uh. There's no secret to solving it, you know. Uh, people just have to make up their minds. Oh, you have to start with history, with the young kids coming up, let them grow up into it, otherwise, we won't see. We're, we're not going to see this. But if the kids are taught history, not black history, not white history, not any other kind of history. But if they're taught history, in the sequence that it happened, with who was involved in it, who done this and when and inter twine, inter mingle it with, with, with black history and white history all together, exactly as it happened, and if they teach a black history class, they're, ninety nine percent of the kids in there are black. If they teach a history class, you have a lot of whites in there learning history as it should be taught, right along with the blacks. And, as they grow up, they will know that this country doesn't belong to no one group. They will know that the American Indian owned all of this. My grandmother told me when I was young, I was oh, fourteen. She said, George, when you become a man, I want you to go to Philadelphia and take back my land. She had some Lenape in her. She had a little Lenape. Her picture's right in there. That my mother, mother, mother's 100th birthday in, that thing I have in there. And my grandmother had a little Lenape in her. She was born in Florence, New Jersey. And, uh, of course, most of my history is black, you know, most of my family. But I did have a little bit of Lenape. And when she made that statement to me, I said, you know, what the hell is she talking about? You know what I mean? Go back to, go to Philadelphia and take back my land, you know? I said, I said, yeah, sure, sure, okay, you know. Uh, that was in 1939 when she told me that. A long time ago, huh? Re, Remember that year, huh? Yeah, I said sure. But, uh, like I say, if they teach history and what went on in this country from the beginning to now, all the problems will be solved. Every time the problems seem to be, they were gettin, they were being solved back in, uh, the early '60s when drugs appeared on all the college campuses, when Kent State. Uh, when I went to high school, I was taught PAD, Problems of American Democracy. That was a course in high school. But once you learn PAD, and once you left school and came out into the real world, they say, okay this is the way you learned about government. Now this is the way that it operates, okay. Just like anything. You know, you, you, you learn a thing one way and then when you get out in the real world, oh, forget all that, you know. This is the way you do it. And, uh, like I say, the answer, the only answer is to start with the kids when they're young and let them grow up and hope that we'll be around to see part of it happen, you know, before we leave here, you know. Uh, and they'll have an appreciation of each other. Otherwise one group won't say I built this country with my sweat, you didn't do a damn thing. This is the opinion that, that's out there, you know. Just like I look at war pictures. Most of the problems with the war pictures, you'll see overseas. If I hadn't been over in the South Pacific, I wouldn't even know I was there if I look at a war film, because every black GI is edited out of the action. Every one said. Now, lately, I've got a whole set of Victory at Sea in there, which came out years ago. Now I look a the Victory at Sea that came out years ago and I look at some of the film I see today and I see more and more blacks appearing in the overseas shots during the war, okay. But a whole lot of history has been blotted out, all the things that happened. And the only thing to solve the problem, as long as racial thing is here, you know, there's never going to be any peace in this country, you know. I wanted to know it, you know, and, uh, I see both sides. You know what I mean? I'm not straight line. I can see both sides. And, uh, and, like I said, education is the only way to go.

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