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Karen Glovka

When I was in fourth grade, my parents moved to a multiracial neighborhood in San Francisco. It was 1966. My first best friend at school was a little girl named Valerie. Naturally, I invited Valerie to my birthday party. Valerie’s mom came by to see my mom to make sure that Valerie wouldn’t be turned away from a white home. Several of my friends canceled when their parents realized an African-American child would be at my party. While Valerie and I played, our moms had coffee and talked. Valerie came to my party and our families were good friends until they moved away several years later. When I was a little older, my mom told me about living in some of the first integrated housing on the West Coast, right after WW II. She just had “friends,” not friends in different colors. I have always been thankful for the important lesson my mom taught me about people just being people.

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The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross is a film by Kunhardt McGee Productions, THIRTEEN Productions LLC, Inkwell Films, in assocation with Ark Media.