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How has Kerala changed under Ooman Chandy?

A2A;Kerala’s tradition of anti-incumbency has arguably been the result of poor performance in office by a series of governments hobbled by the state’s all-pervasive and dysfunctional politics. This time, however, the outgoing UDF government led by Oommen Chandy is campaigning on a remarkable record of achievement. No single five-year government in Kerala’s history has achieved so much in a single term. Source: UDF’s Impressive Record May Drive its Comeback in Kerala: TharoorKochi MetroKochi Metro is an under-construction metro system for the city of Kochi in Kerala, India. The first phase is being set up at an estimated cost of₹5181 crore (US$770 million)Vizhinjam International Sea PortVizhinjam International Seaport is a proposed port by the Arabian Sea at Thiruvananthapuram in India. The total project expenditure is pegged at ₹ 6595 crores over three phases and is proposed to follow the landlord port model with a view to catering to passenger, container and other clean cargo.Kannur International AirportKannur International Airport (IATA: -, ICAO: VOKN) (Malayalam: കണ്ണൂർ അന്താരാഷ്ട്ര വിമാനത്താവളം) is an upcoming International Airport under construction at Mattanur in Kannur District, 25 kilometers from the citiesKannur and Thalassery, in the state of Kerala, India. It is being built on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model by the Kannur International Airport Ltd (KIAL).Once completed it will be the fourth and largest international airport in Kerala after Calicut, Cochin and Trivandrum making it the only state in India to have four international airports. Kannur International Airport will be the second greenfield airport to be set up in Kerala. The project is spread over 2,000 acres (810 ha).Proposed Bullet Train ServiceThe first phase of study regarding the Thiruvananthapuram-Kannur high-speed rail corridor project has been completed. The study conducted by DMRC says...Read more at: TVM-Kannur high-speed rail: 430 km in 145 minutesJana Samparka programmeUnfazed by the grim political challenges awaiting the Congress-led UDF in the Lok Sabha polls, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has been visiting several places the state with his 'Mass Contact Programme' by directly engaging with people, mostly the less privileged, and pulling crowds.The second phase of the unique outreach campaign, which won the UN award for public service in July, has already seen Mr Chandy meeting hundreds of people in four districts and the exercise is to be completed by the year-end covering the remaining 10 districts. In the three editions of Chief Minister's Mass Contact Programme, a total of 7.89 lakh petitions were resolved, out of a total of 12.5 lakh. In 2011, out of the 5.45 lakh petitions, 2.97 lakh were resolved; in 2013, out of the 3.21 lakh petitions, 3.20 lakh were resolved and in 2015, out of the 3.83 lakh petitions, 1.72 lakh were resolved. The programme received the 2013 UNPS award.CM's Distress Relief FundTill December 31, 2015, Rs 540 crore has been disbursed through the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund and Rs 6.27 crore disbursed to people outside Kerala. It was just Rs 120.24 crore that was disbursed during the period 2006-11.Karunya lotteryRaised Rs 1,200 crore and enabled the government to provide treatment to 23 lakh patients, including free care for cancer patients, a first in India; subsidised medicines for the less well off; and proper supply of medicines to government hospitals and dispensaries. Dozens of welfare schemes abound in other areas, including 35 kilos of free rice to those living below the poverty line.Up to Rs 2 lakh is given as treatment assistance. The income from Karunya Plus was also made part of this fund. The returns from the sale of lotteries in Kerala in 2010-11 were Rs 557 crore, which touched Rs 5445 crore in 2014-15. The commission of lottery sellers has been raised to 26%.Amballoor Electronic ParkAmballoor is located about 25 km from Ernakulam city. It is located along the Ernakulam - Thalayolaparambu main road. The site for the proposed project is a marshy area full of weeds and coconut palms. Only 10 families reside in this area.First of Its Kind in StateElectronic Park will be the first of its kind facility in the state. The park is being envisaged as an electronic hub to promote the manufacture and assembly of hardware, as well as the supporting infrastructure.Trivandrum AND Kozhikode Light MetroIn 12 June 2013, the State Cabinet gave clearance for an agreement to be signed between KMCL and DMRC. The DMRC will receive 3.25% of the ₹55.81 billion (₹ 35.90 billion for Thiruvananthapuram and ₹ 19.91 billion for Kozhikode) in general consultant fees. The agreement was signed on 19 June 2013. DMRC appointed interim consultant of the Rs 6728 crore Light Metro rail projects at Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram. DPR submitted to Union government for approval. Kerala Rapid Transit Corporation formed for the implementation of the project.Economic growth higher than national averageBased on current price, Kerala's economic growth has been 17% compared to the national growth rate of 17.5%. In 2011-12, Kerala registered 17% (India 15%), in 2012-13 it was 13% (India 13.3%), 2013-14 it was 13.4% (India 11.5%) and in 2014-15, Kerala registered a growth rate of 12.3% compared to the national growth rate of 10.50%.PSC AppointmentsAppointments to 1,39,192 persons through PSC till October 31, 2015, which is an all time record. After a gap of five years, 1182 differently-abled were given jobs. 1950 differently-abled persons, who were in service for 179 days from 1999 to 2003 by creating 2677 supernumerary posts.16 Medical CollegesAfter 35 years, the number of medical colleges in the State has risen to 16 from 5. New medical colleges started in Manjeri, Idukki and Palakkad. Cochin Cooperative Medical College has been taken over by the government. Work progressing on medical colleges in Thiruvananthapuram, Konni, Kasaragod, Wayanad and Harippad. Steps taken for the takeover of Pariyaram Medical College and for the elevation of Parippally ESI Hospital in Kollam to medical college. New dental colleges started at Alappuzha and Thrissur. Total number of MBBS seats risen from 900 to 1250.Rs 1156 crore for providing 585 medicines free of costIncluding 69 medicines for the treatment of cancer, 585 medicines are given free of cost to all category of patients at government run hospitals. Already Rs 1156 crore has been spent for the purpose. 39 Karunya pharmacies started to check prices of medicines and medicines sold at reduced prices of 20 to 93 per cent.Comprehensive Healthcare SchemeWith an objective to bring various healthcare assistance schemes under one roof, families with annual income of less than rupees three lakhs will come under the Comprehensive Healthcare Scheme, announced in the State Budget for 2015-16. Through a smart card, beneficiary can avail of assistance up to Rs 2 lakhs and would benefit 42 lakh families.Welfare Pensions Worth Rs 15,911 croreFour types of welfare pensions from the department of social justice worth Rs 14,400 crore; eight types of pensions from the department of Labour worth Rs 1511 crore and the farmer’s pension from the department of Agriculture worth Rs 400 crore have been disbursed. Pension from Social Justice Department goes to more than 32 lakh people. Welfare pensions are disbursed by the 18th of every month. An average of Rs 240 crore is spent through local self-government bodies for the disbursal of welfare pensions and Rs 14,400 crore spent in a five-year period. Per month Rs 600 is spend on all categories of labour pensions and reaches 17.60 lakh beneficiaries. In 2013, disbursal of farmer’s pension to small and medium scale began at the rate of Rs 600 per farmer above the age of 60. Total beneficiaries in this category stand at 3.35 lakh and Rs 400 crore spent within a period of two years.Strong Social Welfare Measures2546 persons were given treatment and 1922 persons follow-up treatment under the free cancer treatment scheme for children up to 18 years. Project ‘Thalolam’, providing free treatment to seriously ill children of up to 18 years was implemented in 15 hospitals. 8146 new persons were provided free treatment and 2355 persons follow-up treatment.Persons assisting bedridden patients round-the-clock are being provided monthly financial assistance through the project – Aswasa Kiranam. There are 63,544 beneficiaries in this category. It was just 680 persons when this government assumed office. The aim is to provide assistance to 90,000 in the current financial year.Free Cancer TreatmentFree cancer treatment through the Sukritham project is now available at RCC Thiruvananthapuram, Malabar Cancer Centre, medical colleges at Thiruvananthapuram, Alalppuzha, Kottayam, Thrissur, Kozhikode and General Hospital Ernakulam. RCC secured the NABL accreditation through a Rs 117 crore expansion programme. Cancer institute and research centre is getting ready in Kochi. Mammogram unit started at General Hospital Thiruvananthapuram. Facilities for cancer treatment made available in all districts of Kerala.Mother and ChildImplemented free delivery related treatment and neonatal care up to 30 days, under the Mother and Child project. Newborn screening to detect genetic disorders and 59 neonatal care centres started at 59 hospitals. Started school health programme that provides treatment and medicines to 48 lakh students in 13,270 schools.17,000 to benefit from teachers’ packageThe new teachers’ package will benefit 17,000 recognized aided teachers serving in regular posts till March 31, 2015.Neera ProductionFarmers given permission to tap alcohol-free Neera from coconut trees after amending the 112-year-old Abkari laws. Licence issued to 173 coconut producing federations and three pilot Neera production centres sanctioned under Kerala Agriculture University. State Coconut Development Corporation is in charge of marketing. By tapping Neera, an average monthly income of Rs 2100 is expected from a coconut tree.42,225 acres of land to tribal people Project‘Aasikkum Bhoom’ (the desired land) has provided land ranging from 25 cents to one acre. 524 landless scheduled tribe families were given 184 acre of land through the project. In the TRDM rehabilitation programme of landless scheduled tribes 6814 families were given 8971 acre of land. Based on ‘Right to Forest Land Act’ 25,649 persons residing in the forests were given possession certificates and 33,070 acres of land provided.Subsidy of Rs 837.27 crore for checking price hikeGovernment was able to check rise in prices of essential commodities by distributing them at subsidized rates. Compared to Rs 344.31 crore given as subsidy to Supplyco during the period of the previous government, the subsidy amount has been Rs 538.37 crore during the period of the current government. Rice was also included in the subsidized category of items in 2014-15 and 95,188 metric tons of rice was distributed at reduced price. Rs 44.4 crore was given to Horticorp for the supply of vegetables at reduced rates.Currently, through the 20,428 outlets of Nanma Stores under the ConsumerFed, 10 essential commodities are being distributed at 20% less the rate in the open market. ConsumerFed has already been provided Rs 254.50 crore compared to the Rs 117.71 crore given by the previous government.Rs 300 crore for 15,000 Coastal Houses15,000 houses built free of cost to homeless fishermen in the State. Rs 300 crore was provided for the purpose. Flats were also provided to 450 fishermen families for which Rs 48.75 crore was spent. Financial assistance for house construction hiked from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh, which will be provided as 100% subsidy.3.86 lakh petitions resolved at revenue adaalatOf the 4.72 lakh petitions received at the revenue adalats held in all districts of the State, 3.86 lakh were resolved. Orders also issued for effecting mutation the next day itself, following the registration of land. Earlier, this was allowed only after a period of 30 days from the date of registration.2132 Arrested in 'Operation Kubera'14,155 raids were conducted and 2132 persons arrested as part of 'Operation Kubera' meant for nabbing privately run loan mafia. Rs 466 lakh was seized as part of the operation. The government also launched focused operations that included 'Operation Suraksha' for checking the activities of thugs and anti-social elements; 'Subha Yatra 2015' for creating awareness on traffic rules; 'Operation Vatsalya' for tracing missing children and 'Operation Clean Campus' for preventing use of narcotic drugs inside campuses.Land Provided to 10,271 FamiliesThree cents of land each were provided to 10,271 families, under the 'Zero Landless' scheme. Districts of Kannur, Kasaragod and Idukki became the first in the country to become 'zero landless'. Phase II of the scheme is progressing.Title Deed to 1.24 lakh PersonsTitle deeds given to 1.24 lakh persons within a period of four years, compared to Rs 84,606 title deeds during the period of the previous government.IT Exports Touch Rs 15,000 CroreIT sector in Kerala has grown to the extent of direct employment to one lakh persons and income generation of Rs 15,000 crore from IT exports. It was just Rs 3000 crores worth IT exports when the UDF government came to power in 2011. The annual income on rentals from Technopark and InfoPark is now Rs 70 crore. With the commissioning of phase 1 of SmartCity and CyberPark, IT exports from Kerala would reach Rs 18,000 crore in 2016 and two lakh direct employment.Number One in MSMEs in the CountryKerala topped the nation in terms of number of enterprises and employment generation in a national survey of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, based on population and land area. During the period 2006-11, only a total of 31,995 MSME units were registered and 2.23 lakh job opportunities and an investment of only Rs 3247.11 crore, compared to the last four financial years that saw 51,899 new MSMEs, 2.97 employment opportunities and investment of Rs 8225.05 crore.SC Medical CollegeFor the first time in the country, a medical college was started under the department of Scheduled Caste in Palakkad in 2014-15. Rs 24.33 crore was spent for project. Of the total admissions, 70% is for scheduled caste students and 2% for students belonging to the scheduled tribe.35th National GamesKerala won acclaim for organizing the 35th National Games in a commendable manner. 1.52 crore people took part in 'Run Kerala Run' a publicity campaign held at 7000 centres in Kerala, which found a place in the Limca Book of World Records. As part of the national games, nine playfields were built and 17 got modernized. For the first-time in India a green-field stadium was built through public-private partnership in Thiruvananthapuram. All medal winners of Kerala were given cash awards and jobs.Domestic Milk Production Increased by 83.08%Achieved 83.08% increase in domestic milk production. State's milk production in 2011 was 67% of the domestic demand. Stability ensured for milk price and steps taken to check price of fodder. Year-long subsidy provided to farmers for purchasing fodder. Production of milk has reached 11 lakh litres from 6.42 lakh litres five years ago. The daily import of milk by Milma from neighbouring States in 2010-11 has come down from 6.5 lakh litres to 2.2 lakh litres.Timely Interventions in NRK IssuesGovernment helped 3835 persons who were stranded in strife torn countries like Iraq, Libya and Yemen to return home safely, for which Rs 1.43 crore was spent. Provided assistance to Malayalees during floods in Jammu Kashmir, Uttarakhand and for their safe return back home.Free Power Supply to Life-Support UsersPeople on life-support systems are being provided with free-of-cost power supply. Power connection given to houses of less than 100 sq m on lands not under anyone's possession. Consumer given the choice for purchasing meters directly from the manufacturer for avoiding the meter rent to KSEB.LED Bulbs at Token RatesTwo LED bulb of nine watts, costing Rs 400 each are being given to households at a token rate of Rs 95.Four By-Passes @ Rs 1466 croreFour by-passes worth Rs 1466 crore are nearing completion. Completed the 28.1 km long, Rs 145 crore Kozhikode by-pass in 18 months. By-passes in Alappuzha (Rs 348.43 crore), Kollam (Rs 352.05 crore) and Thiruvananthapuram (Rs 621 crore) are fast progressing. Rs 1824 crore sanctioned for renovation of roads in 2016.28 More Municipalities28 panchayats that have attained urban characteristics made municipalities and Kannur municipality elevated to corporation. 15 B grade municipalities elevated to A grade and 17 C grade municipalities to B grade.1.75 crore Digital CertificatesAs part of Project e-District, 1.75 crore digital certificates issued till December 10, 2015. 24 types of certificates are issued online by the Revenue department. All the 14 districts of Kerala are included in the 50 e-Districts in India. Completed the procedure for providing 1 GB connectivity in all grama panchayats, making Kerala the first digital State in India.Emerging KeralaWork has commenced on 56 projects, worth Rs 32,137 crore that were submitted during the global investor meet - Emerging Kerala. Of these projects, 14 projects of Rs 23,334 crore are under the department of Industries. Projects like BPCL Downstream, Kochi Petrochemical Park, Poly Isobutene project, BioNutra Park, Biomedical Devices Hub are some of the projects that would add to the outlook of Kerala in future. Already, projects like the joint venture by Mercedes Benz and the department of Higher Education, Bosch and department of Higher Education, Kids Lab by BASF India and the department of Science and Technology have started.Massive Participation in Start-UpsThe Start-Up village at Kalamassery in Kochi has become a role model for rest of the country. Within a short period, student and youth entrepreneurs have come up with 7000 odd concepts and have registered at the Start-Up Village. These young entrepreneurs are provided 4% grace marks and 20 per cent relaxation in attendance. During 2014-15 the turnover of start-ups from IT and IT related ventures was Rs 7.84 crore. Basic facilities for the start-ups were provided through government IT parks and Micro, Medium and Small-Scale clusters.Rs 20 lakh Loan to Young Entrepreneurs'Young Entrepreneurship Summit' held to assist youth with innovative industrial ventures to become young entrepreneurs and 'We Mission' meet held for the first time in India for women. Angel fund was formed to create initial capital and Seed fund to give additional assistance to young entrepreneurs. Incubation Centers were formed in colleges to realize the business concepts of students. For encouraging young entrepreneurs, Kerala State Entrepreneur Development Mission was formed. Already 2,834 ventures have been selected for the Rs 20 lakh interest-free loan scheme. 5000 persons were given training. Financial assistance provided to 650 ventures, out of which 450 have become fully functional. This scheme has provided direct jobs to 3000 persons and indirectly to almost the same number.Rs 220 crore National WaterwayThe 205 km Kollam-Kottappuram National Waterway, the only one in the State is getting ready for inauguration. For commencing the transportation of goods, Rs 150 lakh has been sanctioned for the construction of permanent berths at Udyogamandal and Chavara. The whole project is of Rs 220 crore.Rs 24,000 crore for PanchayatsRs 24,000 crore from Panchayat Plan fund provided to panchayats, which is an all-time record. For its activities in decentralization of power and empowerment of democracy, at the national level, Kerala stood second in 2011-12 and 2013-14, third in 2012-13 and took the first spot in 2014-15. Kollam district panchayat bagged the national award for the comprehensive welfare and development activities. Idukki and Veliyanadu block panchayats; Nadaapuram, Kaviyur, Marangattupally, Maneedu and Iraviperur grama panchayaths also won national awards. Kerala also won the national award for digitization of grama panchayats.Rs 3000 crore Japan drinking Water ProjectThe Rs 3000 crore Japan Drinking Water Project has been implemented successfully in Thriuvananthapuram, Meenadu (Kollam), Cherthala, Kozhikode and Pattuvam (Kannur). 41 lakh people are getting the benefit.4.5 Crore TouristsState Tourism Department is placed second in terms of contribution to the State’s GDP, which is 10%. In 2011-14, the State received 4.53 crore tourists and earned an income of Rs 87,754 crore.Backward Classes Development Department, CorporationsBackward Classes Development Department, Backward Classes Development Corporation, Backward Classes Commission and Minority Commission and Kerala State Welfare Corporation for Forward Communities Limited to promote the comprehensive development and welfare of the economically backward sections among the forward communities of Kerala were formed. Loans worth Rs 1003.83 crore were disbursed by Backward Classes Development Corporation to 1.40 lakh people. Converted Christian Development Commission under the Backward Classes Development Department gave loans to the tune of Rs 28.09 crore to 10,534 people.Rs 6082 crore Through AswasAswas project was launched with the objectives of reducing loan arrears due to Cooperative Societies and Banks and also to provide relief to those struggling with loan repayment. Through the project, Rs 6082.19 crore was collected in terms of arrears and benefits of Rs 935.14 crore provided to loanees.Three Flyovers Worth Rs 212 croreNearing completion are the flyovers at Palarivattom (Rs 72.60 crore) and at Edappally (Rs 108.77 crore). The Rs 30.17 crore Kanjikuzhi flyover in Kottayam town will be completed in 18 months' time.245 Bridges of Rs 1600 croreConstruction of 245 bridges in different districts has been completed for which Rs 1600 was spent. The tenure of the current government witnessed the construction of maximum number of bridges in the State.Rs 2,403 crore KSTP Phase IIReceived World Bank assistance for the Rs 2,403 crore Phase II project of KSTP. Under this project, nine roads of 363 km is being developed as per international standards. They are Kasaragod-Kanhangad, Pilathara-Pappinissery, Thalassery-Valavupara, Thiruvalla by-pass, Chengannur-Ettumannur, Ponkunnam-Thodupuzha, Punalur-Ponkunnam and Perumbilavu-Perinthalmanna. The project will be over by September 2018.Construction of Six Major Roads of Rs 3,272 croreConstruction of Ramapuram-Nalambalam Darshanam road (Rs 50.75 crore), KanjikuzhiVettathukavala-Karukachal road (Rs 45.35 crore), Karamana-Kaliyikkavila NH (Rs 263 crore), Kuttippuram-Puthuponnani road (Rs 54.22 crore), Vallarpadam-Kozhikode coastal road (Rs 117.14 crore), Airport-Seaport road (Rs 216.97 crore) roads have become an asset to Kerala's basic development.Rs 100 crore Sewerage Plant at MuttatharaA Rs 100 crore sewerage treatment plant with capacity of 107 MLD has started functioning at Muttathara in Thiruvananthapuram. Steps are being taken to start plants at Kozhikode, Kochi and Kollam. Work on the first Septage Treatment Plant in the country has been completed at Brahmapuram in Kochi.Plastic Wastes at Rs TwoClean Kerala Company has been formed for the collection and processing of wastes. Kerala is the first State in the country to collect plastic wastes and e-wastes by giving money. Steps are being taken to start the first plastic processing plant in Kochi Corporation. Clean Kerala Company is collecting plastic wastes at a rate of Rs 2 per kg and e wastes at a rate of Rs 25 per kg. So far, 150 ton e-waste and 134 ton plastic waste have been collected. Discarded CFL bulbs, CDs and tube lights are also collected.Online Payment of Electricity BillAll section offices of KSEB Ltd have been computerized. Centralized Customer Care and Call Centre started for the consumers to register complaints and to get essential information. Online payment system provided for payment of electricity bills. Provided internet based remittance of electricity bills in all section offices.Electricity reaches 1.7 lakh rural homes1.7 lakh rural houses provided electricity connection through Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Scheme. 65,659 houses that come under the BPL category were given free of cost electricity connection. Rs 201.64 crore has been spent for the project.Record Financial Assistance to Public SectorAn all-time record financial assistance of Rs 899.90 crore has been sanctioned to 44 public sector undertakings under the Industrial department. e-Tender and e-Payment facilities introduced. Procedure completed for implementing e-Auction system in public sector undertakings.Rs 6,510 crore Spent on MNREGSMarked changes affected in the rural sector by spending Rs 6,510 crore through MNREGS. Each year, an average of 17 lakh families got employment. During 2006-11, the amount spent was just Rs 1508 crore. Work-time re-scheduled from 9 am to 5 pm. and the daily wage of Rs 150 was raised to Rs 227 in 2011. Assistance for education of children and gifts during Onam season were also provided to the families of workers by the government. Electronic Fund Management System introduced in all grama panchayats to credit wages of labourers directly to their bank accounts.Three lakh New Pipe ConnectionsThree lakh new pipe connections provided. Drinking water made available through 2.07 lakh publics taps. The target is to provide 4.19 lakh new connections this year.Paddy Procurement: 1.5 lakh Farmers to BenefitAchieved good progress in paddy procurement. In 2014-15, 5.50 tons of paddy was procured from 1.25 lakh farmers. Support price of paddy became Rs 21.50. 1.25 lakh farmers got the benefit.Raw Coconut ProcurementFor the first time in the State, a record 70213.69 tons of raw coconut was procured by KERAFED. For units that undertakes processing of raw coconut to copra, apart from the price of coconut the government is giving Rs 500 as financial assistance for a quintal of copra. The procurement price of raw coconut is Rs 25.Compensation to Crops Damaged by Wild AnimalsCompensation to crops damaged by wild animals can be given four times. The maximum is Rs 75,000/- Treatment assistance to those injured in wild animal attack has been raised to Rs 75,000. Sanction has been given to kill wild boars that destroy crops, subject to certain conditions.Stamp Duty: Benefits Worth Rs 1800 croreThe Stamp duty for partition, release, gift and settlement deeds executed between family members have been reduced to Rs 1000 and registration fees reduced by 1%. This will benefit 49 lakh people by Rs 1800 crore in terms of Stamp duty and Rs 300 crore in terms of registration fees.Undervaluation: Benefit of Rs 403 croreOne-time settlement scheme was implemented to settle arrear undervaluation cases. All undervaluation cases of title deeds involving land transactions of less than five cents in panchayats have been exempted. This will benefit about two lakh people by Rs 100 crore. 1,31,111 undervaluation cases were settled through one-time settlement scheme by paying a token amount as fee, which benefited that much number of families by Rs 303 crore.Motorized Tri-Scooters to 5010 PersonsMotorized Tri-Scooters were given to 5010 persons through the State Handicapped Persons’ Welfare Corporation and LSGs. Janani and Jathik, two mobile phone applications that utilizes GIS to monitor the health of newborn babies in Attapadi was introduced.Schemes for Endosulfan VictimsThose endosulfan victims who are getting disability pension from LSGs are given Rs 1700 per month and Rs 2200 to those who are not getting pension. Other endosulfan victims, suffering health issues are given monthly financial assistance of Rs 1200. Students in families affected by endosulfan are given Rs 2000, Rs 3000 and Rs 4000 as assistance for studying up to Plus Two. A special fund has also been sanctioned by Kasaragod district collector for the treatment of these students. Rs 51.30 crore has been sanctioned to the district collector for giving compensation of up to Rs 5 lakhs to victims of endosulfan.Hearing Ability to 581Cochlear implantation surgery done on 620 children through the Sruthi Tharangam project. The inability to hear was identified in these children at a very young age and got included in the project. The government gives Rs 5.10 lakh for a cochlear implantation surgery.Classical Language Status and University for MalayalamMalayalam University started at Thunchan Parambu and achieved Classical Language Status for Malayalam. Malayalam language got this status along with Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and Sanskrit. Viswa Malayala Mahotsavam celebrated after 34 years.Technology UniversityKerala Technological University set up under the department of Technical Education. All engineering colleges in the State are members of this University. 50,000 students will get the benefit.Police UniversityNational University for Police Sciences and Security Studies started. Graduate and postgraduate courses will be conducted on subjects related to police. Facilities for research will also be provided.Sree Narayana Studies in School SyllabusSree Narayana studies have been included in Malayalam and Social Science text books of class seven. In connection with the centenary celebrations of Daiva Dasakam of Sree Narayana Guru, the prayer song was published bearing the picture of the Guru. A topical book to evaluate the visionary values of Daiva Dasakam published. Rs 4 crore has been sanctioned to Sivagiri Sreenarayana Dharmasangham Trust for the constructing of a Convention Centre.720 new busesA subsidiary corporation by the name of KURTC started and 320 buses sanctioned. Purchase order given for buying 400 buses in the next phase. Bus terminals at Thiruvananthapuram, Thiruvalla and Kozhikode were commissioned on BOT basis. 10 multi-axle Volvo buses have been rolled out for service by spending Rs 10 crore. ePayment system and courier service started.See Kuttanad Double Decker'See Kuttanad' service started by using two double-decker passenger-cum-tourist boats that can accommodate 90 persons each. 45 steel boats are currently in operation. Bio toilet facility provided on passenger boats.Zoological ParkZoological Park is turning into a reality in Thrissur. e-Auction facility introduced for auctioning of wood. 390.50 lakh saplings distributed as per Haritha Keralam project. Kutti Vanam project started. 700 posts of tribal watchmen created and appointment given.215 core for SettlementsFor the development of 436 Scheduled Caste settlements in which 50 or more families are living, Rs 215 crore has been sanctioned at the rate of Rs 1 crore each for developing 215 settlements. So far Rs 94.42 crore has been spent and development activities at 25% of the settlements completed.Rs 665 crore for Buying Land; Rs 568 crore for House ConstructionThe financial help that is being given to the landless and homeless belonging to the SC category has been increased from Rs 75,000 to Rs 3.75 lakh in rural areas, Rs 90,000 to Rs 4.50 lakh in municipal areas and Rs One lakh to Rs 6 lakh in Corporation areas. Assistance for construction of houses increased from Rs One lakh to Rs Three lakh. Installments of grants given at a lower rate to beneficiaries earlier have been given remaining installments at higher rate. Rs 664.86 crore was given to 29,465 families for buying land and Rs 568.33 crore to 24,141 families for construction of new houses.Rs 43 crore for 43 Model ColoniesThe Model Colony project for which Rs One crore is being spent for one ST colony has so far come up with 43 model colonies at a cost of Rs 43 crore.Janani Janmaraksha SchemeThe scheme provides pregnant women belonging to ST community and lactating mothers with monthly financial assistance of Rs.1000, starting from the third month of pregnancy and up to 12 months after delivery has so far benefited 11,000 persons. Debt Relief To 12,216 Persons Loans worth Rs 140 crore, taken by 12,216 persons belonging to the ST category from banks and various other institutions had been written off. These were loans of up to Rs One lakh, pending payment as on 01-04-2014.Snehaveedu to 30,308By combining the general housing project of ST Development department, housing project using HUDCO loan, Indira Awas Yojana project of Rural Development department and the housing project of panchayats, the amount for constructing 30,308 houses under the comprehensive housing project, started in 2015-16 was increased from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh.Package for Primitive TribesThe package for primitive tribes worth Rs 148 crore saw 8001 persons getting the benefit of land, house, basic facilities and livelihood. 12 New Taluks, 31 New Villages 12 taluks and 31 villages were newly formed. Manjeswaram, Vellarikundu, Iritti, Thamarassery, Kondotti, Pattambi, Chalakkudy, Idukki, Konni, Kattakada, Varkala and Punalur are the new taluks.Title Deed for Revenue LandSteps taken to amend laws for providing title deeds to people who are living in revenue land for years. This will be completed within the tenure of this government.Coastal Ship TransportationCostal ship transportation project started. Commenced merchant ship service from Kollam, Beypore, Azheekal ports to ports in other States. As part of the project, ships transporting one ton of cargo will be given an incentive of Rs 1 for a km and Rs 1 for a km for passengers. Ponnani has become the first PPP port in the State.CIAL - Total Solar Powered AirportCIAL has become the first airport in the world to totally run on solar power. Work on the new Rs 1000 crore international terminal has begun. It has registered a record increase in terms of passengers and cargo.Debt Relief ProjectsRelaxed interest rate to those who repay short term agriculture loans without default, debt relief projects to members of SC / ST who have taken loans from cooperative societies and banks and special debt relief project for fishermen implemented.Rs 300 crore Cancer Care CentreRs 300 crore cancer care centre, equipped with the most modern of facilities, coming up in Kozhikode district at the initiative of cooperative bank. Flat complex is also coming up in Thiruvananthapuram.Vegetable Farming in 90,533 HectaresArea of vegetable farming increased from 42,447 hectares in 2011-12 to 90,533 hectares in 2014-15. Production also increased from 8.25 lakh tons to 15.32 lakh tons. Vegetable farming carried out on commercial basis through 2479 clusters of farmers in 12,400 hectares of land. 22 lakh vegetable seed kits were distributed to school students and women free of cost and achieved vegetable farming in household premises.Vigilant KeralaVigilant Kerala project started with public participation to combat corruption. Welcome to Vigilant Kerala Web Portal started as part of the project. If convinced that there is conviction in a government project or work then that can be post on website. Facility in place at Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau for receiving complaints through social media.Jail ChapatiChapati making unit started at Thiruvananthapuram Central Prison and food processing units started at Thiruvananthapuram, Kannur, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Kollam and Kozhikode prisons for providing quality food to the public at rates lower than the market rates. The income from this was Rs 8 crore in 2014. Rs 26 crore solar projects of 1078 KW capacity implemented at different prisons. CCTV system provided at Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Kannur and Ernakulam prisons at a cost of Rs 4.20 crore.Water Tax: 7253 Complaints RedressedIn the adalats that were conducted in all districts of the State, 7253 complaints related to arrears in water tax were resolved.Rs 1769 crore Rural Drinking Water ProjectUnder the rural drinking water project, 209 projects, estimated at Rs 1769 crore are being implemented and that too in a manner that a person gets 70 liters of drinking water per day. Taking into account the outstanding implementation of accelerated rural drinking water projects, Kerala Water Authority received an additional amount of Rs 169.70 crore from the Central government.Pipes Worth Rs 445 croreRs 445.37 crore spent for laying quality pipes. Use of concrete and AC pipes avoided. The diameter of drinking water pipes in the city area has been fixed at 150 mm and 80 mm in rural areas. The new drinking water projects should only use MS (mild steel), DI, PVC, PE pipes. PVC pipes should not be used where the diameter exceeds 160 mm. This new pipe policy has been formulated to prevent bursting of pipes. As part of the measures to prevent pipe bursts, Mild Steel pipes were laid from Aruvikkara to Peroorkada, replacing the old ones.22 Arts and Science CollegesFor the first time in the history of Kerala, 22 Arts and Science colleges were started in the government sector. 320 courses were also sanctioned in government-aided colleges.IITIndian Institute of Technology will come up in an area of 400 acres at Kanjikode in Palakkad District.Rajiv Gandhi Knowledge Centre for Career Studies and ResearchRajiv Gandhi Knowledge Centre for Career Studies and Research formed for the education and training of fishermen children and youth in the coastal area.22,300 Students Admitted to Plus Two62 government higher secondary schools and 167 aided higher secondary schools sanctioned. 22,300 students given admission to plus two courses in the 110 newly allotted 110 batches in the government sector and 336 in the aided sector.Aided Status to Buds SchoolsAided status given to special schools that are having strength of more than 100 students including Buds schools. In-principal approval has been given for granting aided status to special schools having strength of more than 50 students.Italian Marines to Abide by Indian LawsThe two Italian marines who shot dead fishermen off the Kerala coast were eventually made to abide by Indian laws and face trial in India.Kerala Model HealthcareKerala has become the first State in India to have Allopathy, Ayurveda and Homoeo hospitals in all panchayats. Kerala has also become a totally Ayurveda State by starting Ayurvedic treatment centers in all panchayats. Department of Ayush formed by coordinating the treatment streams of Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy. Permanent Ayurvedic treatment centers were started at 77 places where the treatment was not available. 343 posts were created for this and postings done. 110 Homoeo dispensaries started and 446 new posts created and postings done.Rs 61 crore for Sabarimala Master PlanWorks worth Rs 61.27 completed as part of Sabarimala Master Plan, which is meant for providing basic facilities. Rs 10 crore given for Zero Waste Sabarimala project. Waste processing plant started at Sannidhanam. Works of walkway canopy, eight queue complexes and underpass from Pamba to Sannidhanam completed. Swami Ayyappan road readied for tractors to ply. Arogyabhavan at Pamba, Rs 523 crore renovation and repair of roads to Sabarimala undertaken. Rs 7 crore new bridge at Kanamala for making travel from Erumeli to Pampa easy and Rs 8.14 crore worth roads (14 m wide) with sidewalks at Nilakkal, facility for parking more than 10,000 vehicles, water-tank of 10 lakh liter capacity and two bore wells constructed. The roads to Sabarimala were renovated by spending 518 crore in connection with the pilgrimage season. Works of major roads leading to Sabarimala (75.2km) under heavy maintenance scheme and with five years guarantee were completed. These roads were constructed under heavy maintenance project which has a guarantee of 5 years. 124 km roads were renovated with a guarantee of three years.Centres for Imparting SkillStarted, the Kerala Academy for Skills Excellence, the nodal agency for providing skill excellence to the youth. Under this, Nursing Institute for Career Enhancement and Centre for Excellence in International Security at Thiruvananthapuram and Enlightened Skills Programme in Oil and Rig stated at Angamali. Indian Institute of Infrastructure and Construction started functioning at Chavara in Kollam. IIIC would soon start to function for making labourers skilled for undertaking model construction works of high standards at Chavara.Benefit to 10 lakh WorkersMore than half a century old Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishment Law and Rules amended in a timely manner. There are norms in the law for providing experience certificate to workers / employees, appointment order and hostel facility, which are to be given by the owner. The new law ensures crèche facility for the children of women workers, retiring room, clean toilets, seating facility inside retiring rooms and facility to deposit sanitary napkins. About 10 lakh workers will benefit through this amendment.Three Welfare Projects for WorkersAbout 10 lakh plantation workers, 2.5 lakh coir workers has been included in the Aam Admi Beema Yojana, which ensures comprehensive insurance protection from accidents to the families of workers in the unorganized sector. Rs 75,000 for death due to accident and permanent disability, Rs 30,000 for natural death and Rs 37,500 for partial disability are being given. Scholarships are also given to the children of those enrolled in the project and studying from classes 9 to 12 (including ITI), the amount being Rs 1200 per month. CHIS Plus project has been implemented for giving an additional amount of Rs 70,000, apart from the Rs 30,000 given for treatment of serious illnesses. This is for members of Comprehensive Health Insurance, meant for treatment assistance. Implemented Sanjeevani scheme for giving financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh to the descendants in the event of accidental death of a family head, who is a member of the Comprehensive Health Insurance and CHIS plus schemes.Minimum Wages RevisedWages were revised on two occasions in the plantation sector and were the highest increase in the history of the State. The new rates for rubber, coffee, tea and cardamom are Rs 381, Rs 301 and Rs 330 respectively. Wages were revised in the cashew sector too. Fair wages were also revised for the motor workers. Steps are being taken at a fast pace to renew minimum wages in all labour sectors that have completed its term. Minimum wages renewed in 16 labour sectors. In addition five new labour sectors included in the list of minimum wages.Nokku Kooli abolishedNokku Kooli has been banned State-wide. Complaints can be registered by calling the call centre number 155214 or the toll-free number 180042555214.Eleven Autonomous CollegesEleven autonomous colleges started in the State. Autonomous status awarded to Thiruvananthapuram Mar Ivanios College, Kollam Fathima Matha College, Changanassery S B, Sacred Heart, Maharajas College, St Theresa's College, Rajagiri College, Farook College, MES Mambadu, St Josephs Devagiri and St Thomas Thrissur. Over a period of time, these colleges can start new courses. In future, they will become autonomous universities. They can prepare syllabus, conduct exams and can announce results independently. Autonomous colleges will get aid from UGC.Wages Protection SystemWages protection system implemented for giving wages through banks to workers employed in different private sectors. Kerala is the first state to implement such a project. The officials of Labour department can now monitor online whether the wages as prescribed by the law are reaching the workers.Five Projects for Construction of HousesKerala State Housing Board freed from the loan liability to HUDCO by paying Rs 730.67 crore inclusive of interest. Five projects Saphalyam, Santhwanam, Sayoojyam, Saubhagyam and Grihasree were formulated to provide houses to the people belonging to all sections. The Budget share for the housing sector in these five projects was Rs 2,077.65 crore during 2010-11. This was increased to RS 3,259 crore during 2014-15. 2064 persons belonging to lower income group having 2 or 3 cents of land as their own has been given assistance for construction of homes ranging from 30 sq m to 60 sq m, under the Grihasree housing project. Rs 55.59 crore given to 8,235 houses under M N Laksham Veedu reconstruction project and 218 houses reconstructed at Bangladesh colony at Rs 15 crore. 216 flats under Saphalyam project for constructing flats to those belonging to the weaker sections at Chathannur in Kollam, Chelannur in Kozhikode, Chottanikkara in Ernakulam, Puthukadu in Thrissur are under construction. 500 more flats will be constructed in the second phase.Major LawsRight to Service Act: This law ensures that the public gets the required service within a stipulated period of time.Healthcare Service Persons and Healthcare Service Institutions (Prevention of violence) Act: Intended to prevent violence against healthcare service personnel and prevention of violence and property loss of healthcare service institutions.Kerala Prohibition of Charging Exorbitant Interest Act: Law for banning exorbitant interest rates on loans and for giving rigorous punishment for taking excess interest. More effective measures for the protection of river banks and for checking sand mining.Kerala Lifts and Escalators Act: For the erection, maintenance and security of lifts and escalators in Kerala.Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University Law: For the establishment of Malayalam University to enrich the studies and research on Malayalam language, literature and culture.State Minority Commission Act: Formation of the commission for the educational progress, welfare, protection and empowerment of minorities.State Youth Commission Act: Formation of a commission for the preparation of projects for making the youth well educated, empowerment and also for the protection of the rights of youth.Kerala Anti-Social (prevention) Activities Amendment Act: Amendment to make KAPA more rigorous and flawless.Fish Seed Law: Law to check production quality, marketing and storage of of fish seeds. CESS on KSRTC tickets to provide more facilities for commuters and for the social security of employees. Law to protect the interests of investors in different financial institutions.Devaswom Recruitment Board Law: Law to form a recruitment board for making appointments to various posts.APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University Law: Law pertaining to the formation of Science and Technology University to encourage scientific and technological education.Real Estate Regulation Law: Law for the formation of a regulatory authority for controlling and supporting the real estate sector.Expatriate Indians (Keralites) Commission Act: Law for the formation of a commission to protect the interests and welfare of the expatriate Keralites inside the State. Law for the formation of a State Commission for forward communities. Law that allows PSC to undertake University postings.Malayalam Language (propagation and enrichment) Bill: Law that ensures adaptation of Malayalam as the official language, its usage at all levels and its propagation, enrichment and sustenance.100-Day MagicOut of the 107 programmes announced 102 could be completed within 100 days. 24x7 Call Centre, Disclosure of Personal Assets, Whistle Blower System, Settlement of Moolampilli, Chengara struggles and Enhanced security to Padmanbha Swamy temple were implemented successfully.Seven Streams ProjectsSeven-Stream Projects were implemented following the 100-day magic of the government. Seven paths were announced to attain the aim of development and care. The Seven-Stream Projects were announced on 17 November 2011. A total of 664 projects were announced under the seven streams. 91.71% of the projects have been achieved.RecognitionsCM’s Jana Samparka Paripadi received the UN Award for Public Service in 2013. It was for the first time that a chief minister in the country was selected for this prestigious award.CM’s Website received the Web Ratna Award of the Union government in 2012. Kerala received the IBN 7 Diamond State Award for its performance in the fields of education, health, environment and poverty alleviation.India Today State of the States Award in 2013 for achieving outstanding growth in the fields of education, macro economics, agriculture, consumer market and investment.Kerala received the first prize of the Union government in 2014-15 for its performance in decentralization of power and empowerment of democracy. The responsible tourism project implemented at Kumarakom won the Ulysses Prize, known as the Oscar in tourism sector.The publicity event ‘Run Kerala Run’ a mass run for National Game witnessed the participation of 1.52 crore people and earned a place in the Limca Book of World Records. The mass run was arranged at 7000 centers across Kerala.Kerala has continuously received the Energy Award from 2012 instituted by the Ministry of Power.Kerala also received the India Power Award in 2014 and the award of the Ministry of Power in 2015 for implementing the most number of Pico hydro electricity project.Courtesy: Achievements of UDF Government in Kerala : Ready Reckoner

What are the strong and weak points of Railway Budget'16 from the point of view of economists?

These are the highlights of the Railway Budget 2016Theme of the BudgetOvercoming challenges - Reorganize, Restructure Rejuvenate Indian Railways: 'Chalo, Milkar Kuch Naya Karen'Three pillars of the strategy i.e. Nav Arjan - New revenues, Nav Manak - New norms, Nav Sanrachna - New Structures.Financial Performance 2015-16: Savings of Rs. 8,720 crore neutralizing most of the revenue shortfall, expected OR 90%;2016-17: Targeted Operating Ratio (OR) - 92%, restrict growth of Ordinary Working Expenses by 11.6% after building in immediate impact of 7th PC, reductions planned in diesel and electricity consumption, Revenue generation targeted at Rs 1,84,820 crore.Investments and ResourcesProcess bottlenecks overhauled including delegation of powers to functional levels; average capital expenditure over 2009-14 is Rs. 48,100 crore, average growth of 8% per annum.2015-16 investment would be close to double of the average of previous 5 years.2016-17 CAPEX pegged at Rs. 1.21 lakh crore; implementation through joint ventures with states, developing new frameworks for PPP, etc.VisionBy 2020, long-felt desires of the common man to be fulfilled i.e, reserved accommodation on trains available on demand, time tabled freight trains, high end technology to improve safety record, elimination of all unmanned level crossings, improved punctuality, higher average speed of freight trains, semi high speed trains running along the golden quadrilateral, zero direct discharge of human waste.2015-16-AchievementsAction initiated on 139 budget announcements of 2015-16.Project execution2015-16: assured funding through LIC; commissioning of 2,500 kms Broad Gauge lines; commissioning of 1,600 kms of electrification, highest ever. In 2016-17 -targeted commissioning 2,800 kms of track; commissioning Broad Gauge lines at over 7 kms per day against an average of about 4.3 kms per day in the last 6 years. Would increase to about 13 kms per day in 2017-18 and 19 kms per day in 2018-19; will generate employment of about 9 crore man days in 2017-18 and 14 crore man days in 2018-19. Outlay for railway electrification increased in 2016-17 by almost 50%; target to electrify 2,000 kms.Dedicated Freight CorridorAlmost all contracts for civil engineering works to be awarded by March 31st 2016; Rs 24,000 crore contracts awarded since November 2014 as against Rs 13,000 crore contracts awarded in last 6 years; propose to take up North-South, East-West & East Coast freight corridors through innovative financing including PPP.Port connectivityTuna Port commissioned and rail connectivity projects to ports of Jaigarh, Dighi, Rewas and Paradip under implementation; implementation of rail connectivity for the ports of Nargol and Hazira under PPP in 2016-17.North EastBG Lumding-Silchar section in Assam opened thus connecting Barak Valley with rest of the country; Agartala brought on to the BG network. States of Mizoram and Manipur shortly to come on BG map of the country with commissioning of the Kathakal-Bhairabi and Arunachal-Jiribam Gauge Conversion projects.Jammu and KashmirWork on Katra-Banihal section of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project progressing satisfactorily- 35 kms of tunnelling out of total of 95 kms completed; Decongestion work on Jalandhar - Jammu line in full swing and doubling of two bridges to be commissioned by March 2016, while the other two bridges will be completed by 2016-17.Make in IndiaFinalised bids for two loco factories; proposed to increase the current procurement of train sets by 30%.Capacity Building for the future through:1. Transparency: Initiated recruitments online in 2015-16, process now being replicated for all positions, social media being used as a tool to bring in transparency, all procurement including procurement of works moved to the e-platform, completed trial of process leading to award of tender electronically and to be rolled out on a PanIndia basis in 2016-17.2. Governance: Delegation led to compression of project sanction time to 6-8 months from 2 years earlier, key result areas identified to judge performance of GMs and DRMs, performance related MOUs signed with few Zones, to be replicated for all zones.3. Internal audit measures: Specialised teams mandated to screen railway operations in specific areas to detect inefficiencies and prevent wastages, every zone preparing 2 reports by March 31, 2016.4. Partnerships: Cabinet approval for JVs with State Governments, 17 consented and 6 MOUs signed with State Governments. 44 new partnership works covering about 5,300 kms and valuing about Rs. 92,714 crore have been indicated in the Budget documents.Customer Interface1. Interaction and feedback through social media & dedicated IVRS system.2. Making travel comfortable by generating over 65,000 additional berths, installing 2,500 water vending machines; introducing 'Mahamana Express' with modern refurbished coaches; 17,000 bio-toilets in trains; world's first Bio-Vacuum toilet developed.3. Improving punctuality: Operations audit for Ghaziabad to Mughalsarai section.4. Ticketing: Introduced 1,780 Automatic Ticket Vending Machines, mobile apps & GoIndia smartcard for cashless purchase of UTS and PRS tickets, enhanced capacity of e-ticketing system from 2,000 tickets per minute to 7,200 tickets per minute and to support 1,20,000 concurrent users as against only 40,000 earlier.5. Social initiatives: One-time registration for availing concessions while booking tickets online, online booking of wheelchairs & Braille enabled new coaches introduced for the Divyang, increased quota of lower berths for senior citizens and women, middle bays reserved in coaches for women.6. Wi-Fi provided in 100 stations, to be provided in 400 more.7. Stations being redeveloped - financial bid received for Habibganj, Bhopal; Cabinet approval for stations to be taken up under PPP.8. Security through helplines & CCTVs.9. Safety: 350 manned level crossings closed, eliminated 1,000 unmanned level crossings, 820 ROB/RUB completed in the current year and work going on in 1,350 of them.Other major achievements1. Energy: Annualized savings of Rs. 3,000 crore to be achieved in the next financial year itself, a year earlier than announced; achieved by procuring power directly at competitive rates using IR's status as Deemed Distribution Licensee.2. Rail University: Initially identified the National Academy of Indian Railways at Vadodara.3. Digital India: Application of Track Management System (TMS) launched, inventory management module of TMS has resulted in inventory reduction by 27,000 MT resulting in saving of Rs.64 crore and scrap identification of 22,000 MT equivalent to Rs.53 crore.The Way AheadImproving quality of travelFor the unreserved passenger -1. Antyodaya Express unreserved, superfast service.2. Deen Dayalu coaches - unreserved coaches with potable water and higher number of mobile charging points.For the reserved passenger -1. Humsafar: Fully air-conditioned third AC service with an optional service for meals2. Tejas: Will showcase the future of train travel in India. Will operate at speeds of 130 kmph and above.Will offer onboard services such as entertainment, local cuisine, WiFi, etc. through one service provider for ensuring accountability and improved customer satisfaction3. Humsafar and Tejas to ensure cost recovery through tariff and non-tariff measures4. UDAY: Overnight double-decker, Utkrisht Double-Decker Air-conditioned Yatri Express on the busiest routes, has the potential to increase carrying capacity by almost 40%.Ticketing: Sale of tickets through hand held terminals; e-ticketing facility to foreign debit/credit cards; bar coded tickets, scanners and access control on a pilot basis. Expansion of Vikalp - train on demand to provide choice of accommodation in specific trains to wait listed passengers. E-booking of tickets facility on the concessional passes available to journalists; facility of cancellation through the 139 helpline post verification using 'One Time Password' sent on registered phone number, to improve tatkaal services CCTV cameras on windows and periodic audit of PRS website.Cleanliness: 'Clean my Coach' service through SMS, ranking of A1 and A stations based on periodic third party audit and passenger feedback; waste segregation and recycling centres; 'Awareness campaigns'; additional 30,000 bio-toilets; providing portable structures with biotoilets at all platforms of select stations for senior citizens, Divyang and women travellers, plan to explore innovative means of providing and maintaining toilets such as advertisement rights, CSR, voluntary support from social organizations.Catering and stalls at stations: IRCTC to manage catering services in a phased manner; explore possibility of making catering services optional, adding 10 more IRCTC operated base kitchens; to build local ownership and empowerment, weightage will be given to district domicile holders for commercial licenses at stations.Stoppages: Convert all operational halts into commercial halts for the benefit of the common manRail Mitra Sewa: Expanding Sarathi Seva in Konkan Railway to help the old and disabled passengers, strengthening the existing services for enabling passengers to book battery operated cars, porter services, etc. on a paid basis in addition to the existing pick up and drop, and wheel chair services.Measures for Divyang: All stations under redevelopment accessible by Divyang; to provide at least one Divyang friendly toilet at each platform in A1 class stations during the next financial year and also ensure availability of wheelchairs in sufficient numbers at these stations.Travel Insurance to passengers: To offer optional travel insurance for rail journeys at the time of booking.Hourly booking of retiring rooms: Will be handed over to IRCTC.Janani sewa: Children's menu items on trains, baby foods, hot milk and hot water would be made available.SMART (Specially Modified Aesthetic Refreshing Travel) Coaches: design and layout of our coaches to ensure higher carrying capacity and provision of new amenities including automatic doors, bar-code readers, bio-vacuum toilets, water-level indicators, accessible dustbins, ergonomic seating, improved aesthetics, vending machines, entertainment screens, LED lit boards for advertising, PA system.Mobile Apps: Integrate all facilities into two mobile apps dealing with ticketing issues and for receipt and redressal of complaints and suggestions.Improving customer interface: Skilling our front-end staff and those we employ through our service providers, information boards in trains enumerating the on-board services and also GPS based digital displays inside coaches to provide real time information regarding upcoming halts. Work underway on installation of a high-tech centralized network of 20,000 screens across 2000 stations for enabling real time flow of information to passengers and also unlock huge advertising potential. All A1 class stations will be manned with duly empowered Station Directors supported by cross functional teams; to make one person accountable for all facilities on trains.1. Pilgrimage centres: To take up on priority the provision of passenger amenities and beautification on stations at pilgrimage centres including Ajmer, Amritsar, Bihar Sharif, Chengannur, Dwarka, Gaya, Haridwar, Mathura, Nagapattinam, Nanded, Nasik, Pali, Parasnath, Puri, Tirupati, Vailankanni, Varanasi and Vasco; also intend to run Aastha circuit trains to connect important pilgrim centres.2. Porters: Intend providing them with new uniforms and train them in soft skills, henceforth, to be called sahayak.3. High Speed Rail: Passenger corridor from Ahmedabad to Mumbai being undertaken with the assistance of the Government of Japan. SPV for implementing high speed projects will be registered this month. Prime benefit would be providing IR with technology advancements and new manufacturing capability.4. Entertainment: Propose to invite FM Radio stations for providing train borne entertainment; extend 'Rail Bandhu' to all reserved classes of travelers and in all regional languages.Passenger traffic: Suburban traffic: in-principle approval for MUTP III received. Early award of tenders for elevated suburban corridors between Churchgate-Virar and between CSTM-Panvel; revive Ring Railway system in Delhi; launching a new investment framework for developing suburban systems in partnership with State Governments, development in Ahmedabad, Bangaluru, Hyderabad Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram on the anvil.Winning back the lost modal share Expanding the freight basket of IR: To start time-tabled freight container, parcel and special commodity trains on a pilot basis, container sector would be opened to all traffic barring coal, specified mineral ores and part-loads during the non-peak season. All existing terminals/sheds would be granted access to container traffic, where considered feasible.Rationalising the tariff structure: Undertake review of tariff policy to evolve a competitive rate structure vis a vis other modes, permit multi-point loading/unloading and apply differentiated tariffs to increase utilization of alternate routes, explore possibility of signing long term tariff contracts with our key freight customers using pre-determined price escalation principles.Building terminal capacity: Proposed to develop Rail side logistics parks and warehousing in PPP mode, 10 goods sheds will be developed by TRANSLOC, the Transport Logistics Company of India, in 2016-17. To soon inaugurate India's first rail auto hub in Chennai. Encourage development of cold storage facilities on vacant land near freight terminals. Local farmers and fisherman would be given preferential usage of the facility. A policy in this regard would be issued in the next 3 months.Nurturing customers: Will appoint Key Customer Managers to liaison with our major freight stakeholders; each Zonal Railway will develop customer commitment charter indicating service level commitments of IR, will explore the feasibility of opening up leasing of general purpose wagons.Non fare revenuesStation redevelopment; monetizing land along tracks; monetizing soft assets - website, data, etc; advertising - in 2016-17 target 4 times the revenue of 2015-16; overhaul of parcel business - liberalize the current parcel policies including opening the sector to container train operators; revenues from manufacturing activity - by 2020, aim at generating annualised revenues of about Rs 4,000 croreProcess Improvements1. EPC projects standard document finalized, will implement at least 20 projects through this mode in 2016-17; by 2017-18, endeavour to award all works valuing above Rs. 300 crore through EPC contracts.2. Performance output parameters based contracts - to review service contracts to integrate them and make them simpler and outcome focused.3. Leveraging technology for project management- intend to use the latest drone and Geo Spatial based satellite technology for remotely reviewing the physical progress across major projects; monitoring of DFC to be operationalised through this mode in 2016-17.4. System-wide Information Technology integration - initiated system wide integration, both horizontal and vertical, akin to an ERP through innovative partnership models.Rail Development AuthorityTo enable fair pricing of services, promote competition, protect customer interests and determine efficiency standards; draft bill to be ready after holding extensive stakeholder consultations.Undertaking Navarambh - A new beginningNavinikaran - Structural InterventionsOrganisational Restructuring- Proposed to reorganize the Railway Board along business lines and suitably empower Chairman, Railway Board. As a first step, cross functional directorates to be set up in Railway Board to focus on areas like non-fare revenues, speed enhancement, motive power and information technology; explore the possibility of unifying cadres for fresh recruitment of officers; strengthen PPP cell to improve ease of doing business with IR.Sashaktikaran - Improving our planning practicesTo set up a Railway Planning & Investment Organisation for drafting medium (5 years) and long (10 years) term corporate plans; identify projects which fulfill the corporate goal. Prepare a National Rail Plan to harmonise and integrate the rail network with other modes of transport and create synergy for achieving seamless multi-modal transportation network across the country.Aekikaran - Consolidation: Forming a holding company of companies owned by IR.Shodh aur vikas - Investing in the future: to set up a R&D organization, a Special Railway Establishment for Strategic Technology & Holistic Advancement, SRESTHA. RDSO will now focus only on day to day issues while SRESTHA would drive long term research..Vishleshan - Analyzing data: a dedicated, cross functional team called Special Unit for Transportation Research and Analytics (SUTRA) would be set up for carrying out detailed analytics leading to optimized investment decisions and operations.Navrachna - Innovation: by setting aside a sum of Rs 50 crore for providing innovation grants to employees, startups and small businesses.Avataran - Seven Missions for the transformation of IRMissions will be headed by a Mission Director reporting directly to the Chairman, Railway Board and heading a cross functional team empowered to take all relevant decisions for a timely targeted delivery. Annual outcome based performance targets for the Mission would be announced and the Missions will finalise the implementation plans for short, medium and long terms and proceed accordingly.Mission 25 Tonne for 25 tonne axle load, Mission Zero Accident for safety, Mission PACE (Procurement and Consumption Efficiency), Mission Raftaar for higher speeds, Mission Hundred for commissioning 100 sidings/ freight terminals, Mission beyond book-keeping for accounting reforms, Mission Capacity Utilisation to prepare a blueprint for making use of the capacity created once DFC is commissioned.Sustainability and Social Initiatives: Human Resources/ Skilling, Social initiatives, Environment1. To tie up with the Ministry of Health for ensuring an exchange between Railways hospitals and Government hospitals; to introduce 'AYUSH' systems in 5 Railway hospitals; provide gang men with devices called 'Rakshak' for intimating them about approaching trains, also reduce the weight of the tools carried by them while patrolling. To provide toilets and air-conditioning in cabs for our loco pilots.2. Set up two chairs: One C T Venugopal chair on Strategic Finance, research and policy development and another Kalpana Chawla chair on geo-spatial technology.3. For youth: Open our organisation to 100 students across Engineering and MBA schools for 2-6 months' internships each year.4. Partnering with Ministry of Skill Development - skill development on IR premises.5. Undertaken energy audits for reducing energy consumption in non-traction area by 10% to 15%: All new light provisions will be LED luminaire and all Railway stations to be covered with LED luminaire in next 2 to 3 years.6. Action plan drawn up for environmental accreditation, water management and waste to energy conversion. More than 2,000 locations provided with Rain Water Harvesting facility. In place of steel sleepers on steel bridges environmentally friendly composite sleepers made of recycled plastic waste will be used over all girder bridges.7. 32 stations and 10 coaching depots have been identified for installation of water recycling plants in the coming years.Tourism1. Partnering with State Governments for operating tourist circuit trains; recent upgradation of National Rail Museum, promotion of tourism through Railway museums and UNESCO world heritage Railways.2. To spread awareness about our National Animal, the Tiger, complete packages including train journey, safaris and accommodation to cover the wildlife circuit comprising Kanha, Pench and Bandhavgarh will be offered.

Are there any Quora users who vividly remember the segregated South? If so, what are your most memorable recollections?

Civil Rights in the SouthMy ThoughtsI grew up in the 1940s Midwest in Milwaukee, a very diverse and liberal town, moved to Norfolk with the 1950s WW II Destroyer Navy and stayed there for seven more years working for IBM as a mainframe engineer at the Naval Base. I got involved in church, community affairs and politics. All elected officials in my neck of the woods and throughout the South were predominately conservative 'Dixicrat' Democrats. In fact, I don't think there was any elected Republican's to be found anywhere in the 1950s South. This was back during the Jim Crow separation of the races period, known as the (Plessy vs. Ferguson) separate but equal doctrine declared the law of the land by a 19th century Supreme Court. Most (Northern) Republican and Democrats at that time spoke out against the institutional Jim Crow southern racism that existed, and they were usually the one that treated their Black employees with dignity and respect. They were mostly Yankee religious folk, Catholics and Jews, who played a big part in the upcoming 1960s Civil Rights movement. Southern Democrats were the conservatives and northerners were the liberals of the (1950s) times.Politics was very confusing back the in '60s. In the South, it appeared that all the Democrats were extremely radical based on race (keeping the black man down), they were the White Citizen Council, Klansmen, sheriff's, mayors, Evangelical Pastors, etc. All touting the racial separation message and by Ku Klux Klan force if necessary. My parents were Republicans and I thought of myself as a Republican because all the bad racist guys hated Republican's. They especially hated Eisenhower after he sent troops into Little Rock to integrate the schools. The 1950s were extremely volatile years, new ‘Normal’ was created, and between the Social Revolution and Civil rights, the country was being torn apart.Southern Democrats were taking the ultra conservative side, especially on race, but Northern Democrats were taking the progressive approach and I decided that I wanted to belong to the same party as Robert and John Kennedy who were talking about support for Civil Rights, the Space program, and an invigorated manufacturing development in the USA. I went door to door in hundreds of Norfolk and Portsmouth homes and did Voter Registration for him for the 1960 Presidential election and learned that white Southerners were saying that because Kennedy was a Catholic the Pope would run the country if he got elected. I had some good debates with people I talked too! I learned that politics for most people was not about informed knowledge on issues but was based on emotionally built (false) stereotypes and prejudices. You actually heard southern Evangelical Pastors and the established media rant against Kennedy, saying all kinds of ridiculous prejudicial things with no shame. I loved Kennedy and actually met him when he came to Norfolk to thank his supporters. He was nothing like the racist Democrats in my region; and his message did not resonate very well with southern Democrats who were switching to the Republican Party en mass because of Democratic support for Civil Rights. So, in protest to (Northern) Democratic support for Civil Rights, the South had almost completely switched to the Republican Party based on its fight against racial integration. The Republican Party, one the bastion of civil rights, had become the "The Southern Strategy” pandering to racists. The South had declared “the Civil Rights movement and Martin Luther king were communist, and the federal government was fascist for trying to desegregate the South. This regressive cultural continued for many years to come and even intensified into the current 'Cultural War' within the USA . I never regretted the choices I made. I joined the right party and my first vote for president went to Kennedy and my second to Lyndon B. Johnson.The 1950s NavyThe 1950s Navy was full of grizzled war veterans, a rough and tumble organization that loved to fight. It was soon after World War II and we had many veterans on the ship. Phil was a career Navy man who was a first class gunner’s mate. He had served during World War II in the Pacific on heavy cruisers and had been in many major battles, including Guadalcanal, the Saipan Turkey Shoot, Leyte Gulf and Okinawa. He had several cruisers sunk beneath him one being the Indianapolis, just after they delivered the atomic bomb to a B29 Squadron. I would listen for hours to Phil war recounts in detail, what it was like to live thorough horrific sea battles and the carnage from fires and explosions as your ship takes hits from bombs and torpedoes. Especially horrifying was trying to survive in the water as your ship sinks and you have to battle oil fires and man-eating sharks. His stories of the Indianapolis sinking and resulting long stay in the water with sharks eating survivors were brutally terrorizing. The Navy was an exciting and rewarding life but it was also dangerous. During our 1957 Mediterranean Cruise, we picked up 22 pilots who crashed in the sea on take off or landing. If they survived the crash, they would be floating in their life preservers or rafts and we'd pick them up. We'd go alongside their carrier and hi-line them back and the carriers would give us several gallons of ice cream in gratitude. Life at sea could be boring, or full of exciting devil dares thrills, and always life defying escapades filled with near death experiences and sailors broke the routine up doing different things. Movies help a lot to break up the grind and hectic life to normalize shipboard life. Like every navy ship large enough to rig up a movie screen, the Destroyer shows motion pictures in the mess hall or on the fantail. For diversion, some men start up country western bands and sing along before the movie starts. They may never get a Broadway showing, but it is immensely enjoyed by all. I set up a ship’s library, classical record center, was the ship’s photographer and cruise book editor.Life lessons are taught too. In one particular week in Athens, the highlight of the week was my realization of the universal man. It was late in the night and we were hanging out at a bar when it hit me. There I was completely surrounded by so many different cultures. Everyone in the room was enjoying a simple game of ping pong; there were two Swedish girls planning their next attack at the table, jabbering in Swedish; there were five Spanish guys making some kind of comments to one another in Spanish; there was one drunken Frenchman and his dog and he would not stop pestering people to dance; there was one hilarious Chilean who could make you giggle just by looking at him and listening to his contagious laugh; there was a Dutch girl who could translate and understand four different languages. And last, there was us, the three American sailors. This is what traveling is all about. I remember standing there simultaneously hearing at least three different languages, yet only half of the people could understand the native dialect of the others. Through translations and gestures we communicated and enjoyed the company of one another. Experiencing this makes me wonder why people would ever want to fight. I have come to the conclusions that people of different cultures and races may have diverse religions and rituals, but we are all human. We all have similar thoughts and emotions. To judge someone on their ethnicity would be ignorant. I am happy that I decided to join the navy, travel and experience all this first hand.Introduction to the SouthIt was 1956 and I was in the South now assigned to a Navy Destroyer in Norfolk which was an ugly and mean city. Was this what the south was like I asked? I found everyday social life was very different from my home of Milwaukee. While Milwaukee was an open minded working man’s society, liberal and socially generous, with thousands of things to do, the South was backward and low brow nasty, with nothing to do and racially legally segregated. If you had to make a comparison between good and evil, the south was definitely evil. Us northerners wondered how anyone could live here in this colorless and dull witted society, hypocrites - full of Bible belt evangelical religion but hateful to the core. Whereas in Milwaukee segregation between the races was social and very much class oriented, here in the South the races were separated by law which was vigorously enforced by the police and they seemed to relish harassing Blacks, military or civilian. By civilized Milwaukee standards, these southern police were psychopaths, escaped guards from Nazi Germany prison camps. Any type of non whites, including Asians, Puerto Ricans, Caribbean's, etc., didn’t get any respect and were treated terribly. If your skin was darker, you were legally separated into a lower class and discriminated against. Even the Jews, just like my childhood buddies from my old neighborhood, were held in low esteem and treated like garbage.The week I arrived in Norfolk, the State of Virginia closed down most of its public schools to avoid racial integration, and they remained closed for the next two years. Based on Brown vs. Board of Education, the Supreme Court had ruled that the South had to integrate its schools. Virginia refused to comply; instead, they set up private schools for whites across the state and established "Massive Resistance" to any integration plans from the Federal Government whom they hated. What are these Southerners? Evil incarnate or just misguided and stupid? I would never understand them! Aboard ship, I had made friends with many sailors, including Blacks, and when we went to Norfolk, we would experience a totally segregated society. On the ship regardless of race we all got along fine but we could not hang together on shore. There were many Blacks living in Norfolk, and they were cordoned off into very poor areas of town. Norfolk’s main downtown, ‘Granby Street’ and the entire city, with all of its parks and beaches, was available only for Whites. Blacks were allowed only in designated ‘Colored’ - run down - sections and a downtown area called ‘Church Street’ which actually had the character of a New York City street, colorful and full of itself. Even the rowdy East Main Street sailor Bars, known infamously throughout the world, were for Whites only. Bus stations, water fountains, hotels, taxi cabs, movie theaters, restaurants, city parks, swimming beaches, everything and everything were separated by race. The whites had all the best, the blacks - by law - all the worst. What fool invented this madness?! What a sick bunch of idiots thought this one up. This can't be the USA! But it was and I would have to learn to deal with it!The south was racially segregated under Jim Crow laws, Civil Rights were looming to remove that horrible stain of sin on our history, but the south was fighting back with violence and murders against blacks and whites who supported racial integration. During 1956, a group of Southern senators and congressmen signed the “Southern Manifesto,” vowing resistance to racial integration by all “lawful means.” The week I arrived in Norfolk, the State of Virginia closed down most of its public schools to avoid racial integration, and they remained closed for the next two years. Based on Brown vs. Board of Education, the Supreme Court had ruled that the South had to integrate its schools. Virginia refused to comply; instead, they set up private schools for whites across the state and established "Massive Resistance" to any integration plans from the Federal Government whom they hated. What are these Southerners? Evil incarnate or just misguided and stupid? I would never understand them! Aboard ship, I had made friends with many sailors, including Blacks, and when we went to Norfolk, we would experience a totally segregated society.On the ship regardless of race we all got along fine but we could not hang together on shore. There were many Blacks living in Norfolk, and they were cordoned off into very poor areas of town. Norfolk’s main downtown, ‘Granby Street’ and the entire city, with all of its parks and beaches, was available only for Whites. Blacks were allowed only in designated ‘Colored’ - run down - sections and a downtown area called ‘Church Street’ which actually had the character of a New York City street, colorful and full of itself. Even the rowdy East Main Street sailor Bars, known infamously throughout the world, were for Whites only. Bus stations, water fountains, hotels, taxi cabs, movie theaters, restaurants, city parks, swimming beaches, everything and everything were separated by race. The whites had all the best, the blacks - by law - all the worst. What fool invented this madness?! What a sick bunch of idiots thought this one up. This can't be the USA! But it was and I would have to learn to deal with it!March 12th, 1956 - The Southern ManifestoBy March 12, 1956, Senator Harry Byrd of Virginia had convinced 101 of the 128 congressmen from Southern states, representing eleven states of the old Confederacy, to sign "The Southern Manifesto on Integration." The document claimed that the United States Supreme Court's 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which declared racially segregated public education unconstitutional, constituted an abuse of power in violation of federal law. The manifesto accused the Court of jeopardizing the social justice of white people and "their habits, traditions, and way of life" and claimed that the Brown ruling would "[destroy] the amicable relations between the white and Negro races that have been created through 90 years of patient effort by the good people of both races," referring to the era of racial terror and a Jim Crow legal caste system that had been reality for most black Americans since the end of Reconstruction.Eight southern states - Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia - enacted their own versions of the Southern Manifesto, called "interposition resolutions," which tried to elevate the state's legal interpretation over that of the Supreme Court. These states also used legislative acts and voter referenda to enact tuition grant statutes that authorized state governments to fund privately-run schools in order to preserve racially segregated education.Norfolk Liberty - yuck - Pugh - ugh! America's Hell HoleEast Main Street was Norfolk's claim to fame. In the annuals of bad ass sailor towns, they wrote books about it and Norfolk's East Main Street was famous all over the world. You could find every sin covered in every religion in the world, in three or four blocks. It was a place established simply for the purpose of selling beer to stupid teenager white sailors, who passed it from mouth to kidney, to bladder, to urinal and finally into the Elisabeth River. All the while enjoying the convivial company of fat tattooed women with hairy upper lips. The place was a veritable Kasbah of Carnal Delight. The street was so bad, it way off the Morale Richter Scale. East Main was Biblical, right up there with Sodom and Gomorrah. It was the ‘Black Hole of Calcutta' and the lowest level of the largest pissy outhouse ever built.East Main was the K-Mart of whoredom. If you had twenty bucks and you couldn't satisfy any particular lust desire you were hauling down there, but you had to be into something involving baby ducks and penguins. East Main was a five-star hell whole where you could buy passion in fifteen minute increments from women whose panties went up and down like a tin can's signal flags, where you could drink cheap beer and pee in the street. Fleet sailors warned us recruits that sooner or later, we would be rolled on East Main Street. Just hope that she was kind enough to stick your ID and liberty card in your sock before she vanished with what was left of seventy bucks and your wallet? If Guinness had a record for the sleaziest bars per square inch, it would read. 'East Main, Norfolk'. They sold enough draft beer on a Saturday night to fill the New London diving tank, and most of it got pissed away in the adjacent alleys on the way to the bus stop up on Granby Street. Good-ole boys loved it and we civilized sailors hated it.The world’s infamous section of East Main Street was only three blocks long and lined with Bars on both sides of the street with names such as "Virginian,” "Golden Palomino,” "Rathskeller,” "Ship Ahoy,” "Paddock Lounge,” "Red Rooster" and etc. The Bars served only 25-cent lean draft beer. You did not order brand names in Norfolk and the Bars featured fat tattooed barmaids who would (if you were lonely) sit with you and listen to your sad story, however, the cost of listening was buying them a drink which consisted of ice tea at a cost of $1 which was equivalent to four beers and could those Bar Maids drink fast! Most sailors fell for this little game only once but there were some who never learned! While on East Main Street, it would often be our goal to drink a few beers at each bar, starting at the upper end of one side of the street, and drink our way down the street, then come up the other side. Needless to say I never successfully accomplished this goal. As a young man not used to alcohol, even though the beer was lean reduced to 3 per cent alcohol, I would get drunk before the round robin tour ended and wind up puking my guts out in an alley. After drinking ourselves silly on East Main Street, we were ready for some coffee and a plate of bacon and eggs. A [White only] Christian Mission offered these amenities if we would listen to their “save my soul” preaching first. One time we tried this and listened to well mannered young men try to convert us to being ‘Born Again’ with sweet talk and using words like “anointed.” But it was for Whites only he said, anyone one else like Blacks were going to Hell. I thought - Christians, Huh? To this day whenever I hear that “ANOINTED” word I get a nauseous chill up my backbone!One of the eateries we frequented on East Main Street was Eddie's Texas Chili. I usually ate chili somewhat on the mild side. My first time eating the mild chili, I said Holy Shit, what the hell is in this stuff, as a fire burned my mouth out? You could remove dried paint from your driveway and it took me two beers to put the flames out. Actually, it didn’t take me long to get used that mild stuff and soon I tried the next hotter chili which made my nose feel like it was snorting Drano. Well, everyone knows the routine by now; get me more beer before I ignite. Laughing, the Barmaid pounded me on the back, now, and my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I'm getting frog-faced from all of the beer. I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds? Sally, the barmaid, was standing behind me with fresh refills. That 300-lb. woman is starting to look HOT . . . just like this nuclear waste I'm eating! Is chili an aphrodisiac? When I eventually tried eating the middle hot chili, it made my ears ring and sweat pour off my forehead and I could no longer focus my eyes. I farted a misty smoke screen and four people behind me swooned and needed paramedics. I told the Barmaid that her chili had finally given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the 24-oz pitcher and I wonder if my lips are burning off. It really irked me that the other sailors asked me to stop screaming. Dang those Rednecks, my intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulphuric flames. I messed myself when I farted and I'm worried it will eat through the chair. Where’s the men’s room?Bar Fighting"Bar fights" are the most stupid sort of fights between angry people as they are liquored up and fight for the lamest reason or even perceiving the worse. Once I watched my loud‑mouth drunken destroyer sailor get beat up by a Coast Guard sailor he was making fun of, taunting him and saying the "Shallow Water Sailor" should give his bar stool to a real sailor. The smaller man cleaned his destroyer ass clock. After I got beat up badly trying to break up a bar fight in the Golden Palomino Bar on Norfolk's infamous East main Street while on my first Shore Patrol. Back in Second Division my friend, Ike, would teach me how to handle myself in Street and bar fights. Ike was a Squid sailor, tattooed, well built ladies man who looked Hollywood good in his uniform. You wouldn't know he was almost a professional fighter. I was in shape and did regular workouts, thought I was a tough guy, what with winning Milwaukee Street fights and defeating school bullies. I even did a little Golden Gloves - wasn't any good and got eliminated fast - my style was to attack fast and furious which against anyone good got you killed. Ike taught me that my brain was the best attribute in a fight, not my physical skills, plus I was skinny and weighed only 150 pounds, He said outsmarting the other guy and counter punching was the skill I needed to develop; it was all about the ability to think and having a sense of timing and distance. I learned first it’s better to talk my opponent down, if that fails, wait for him to attack me, then counter punch. It's all about brains over brawn. He told me not to get in the middle of a bar fight, "Let the bar fight winner go to the brig and the loser to the hospital. It worked . . . I still had my teeth after hundreds of bar fights. The bus ride back varied in quality depending on the time you left, a late return meant ridding with a large group of sailors in various states of drunkenness with random puking. If you missed the last bus back to NOB which left around 2:00 A.M. In the morning, you had to wait three hours before bus service resumed again at 5:00 A.M. It would get you back to your ship just in time for morning Quarters.The USOWhile in port in Norfolk, my buddies and I hung out at the Norfolk or Portsmouth USO, they were our home away from home, and frequented by many young ladies from the area. Dances were held ever week, ping pong and pool tables were available, and there were plenty of, pay phones, chess games, couches and chairs to wile away a lazy afternoon. During the weekly dances conducted by the Norfolk or Portsmouth Uses, I met many young and attractive girls whom I became friends with, but not romantically. I also met women during my weekend liberties in Washington, New York, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore, but again, with no romantic affiliations. Sailors, especially if you could dance, would always meet nice young girls at USOs around the country.Leo’s Bar & GrillThe bus back to the naval base would stop right outside Leos’ First and Last Stop Bar which was just outside the Destroyer Submarine pier gate and it was usually our first stop after an exciting week of sea duty. Leo’s older son was an amateur boxer and one night brought Archie Moore into the place and introduced him around. Archie was light heavyweight world boxing champion between 1952 and 1959 and had one of the longest professional careers in the history of his sport. One of the most popular shooters was the "Tidy Bowl.” A Tidy Bowl is made with Blue Curacao and a splash of Pineapple juice, chilled, strained and poured into a shot glass. Mixed, then the bartender floated a raisin on the top. Sometimes the raisin floats and sometimes it would sink. Got so bad that the Navy guys were making bets on whether they would be a floater or a sinker. The little hole in the wall greasy spoon restaurant across the street from Leo's where I frequently finished up the night with a bacon and egg sandwich.“I Will Never Drink Again” Drunk as a skunk on 3 per cent lean beer, I ended up in the "Trade winds" where the SPs' (Shore Patrol) told one of my new found drinking buddies to walk me around the block a couple of times - after which I threw up on his shoulder. Soon, I was in the men's room puking my guts out, thinking I was going to die, and promising God if I didn't die I will never drink again. Welcome toNorfolk,VA. . . . Ugh!New YorkI didn’t like being stationed in Norfolk, a southern segregated Navy town full of evangelicalism, hate and racism, they were fighting the Civil Rights movement to the death, a Bible Belt town that didn't really believe in the scriptures, and one of the worst things is they didn't have real civilization like good Chinese take-out, but actually because it just felt mind-numbingly slow, full of under educated ignorant people in a town that was just boring. Segregation meant that there was nothing to do unless you went to private clubs for social activities and booze. New York had everything for everyone, no holds barred, and that was both good and bad - you had to be discriminating in what you choose to do because there were so much good and discontenting activities all around you in the streets of Manhattan. I guess that if you're a REAL New Yorker, born and raised here, you're going to be bored stiff anywhere else, places with few or no choices and limited freedoms and opportunities that could never match New York. The rest of the country seems like it's moving in slow motion on some heavy tranquilizers compared to New York.We were all young Navy men looking for love; go to sea for weeks chasing Russian submarines then come back to Norfolk looking to find that elusive femme fatale that must be somewhere nearby looking for a nice good looking young Destroyer sailor man like me. I soon found that not only was she elusive, but was non existent. Hell, we were in segregated and backward Norfolk, and they had signs around town that said “sailors keep off the grass," so where does a sailor go to meet women in a dry and segregated backward place where there are no dance clubs or night clubs and only a few dingy fast food restaurants with lousy Pizza. So, we went to Manhattan for weekend liberty searching for feminine companionship in Times Square - which we found in spades . . . The Big Apple was alive with all kinds of women, dance clubs and spicy night club adventures.In my early Navy days in Norfolk, when I didn't have a car or a ride for weekend liberty, I would take a Railways interstate bus to New York City. When the bus stopped for bathroom or food in the South, we left the bus and parted company into separate racial facilities, but when in the North we shared all facilities together. If you were pissed off at Jim Crow and thwarted the segregationist pattern, like entering a “colored” rest room, you could be arrested and put in the local jails, where you would be treated horribly, being crammed into tiny, filthy cells. Fed salt without water and sporadically beaten. In the South, the police didn't take kindly to whites who sympathized with the blacks. On one trip I met Mary Thomson, a young pretty Black girl who lived in Manhattan, and we became good friends.She was very smart and had a great personality and I wished I could date her when she visited her parents in Norfolk, but as things are in the South, I knew that was impossible. We could only breathe the fresh air of freedom when we crossed the Mason - Dixon Line.Once in the City, I would get a room at the YMCA in Times Square and explore the city, hitting the bars and night clubs like the Latin Quarter or Copacabana and the mid town dance emporiums, all places racially and ethnically integrated with beautiful women looking for hungry sailors. One of our favorite places was the Roseland Ball Room on 52nd Street. They used professional orchestras playing every kind of ball room music and even dance clubs from Harlem came down to jitterbug and swing dance with us. Eventually, I bought a 1952 Cadillac Deville and ran a Taxi service to New York, dropping sailors off at the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 49th Street or Penn Station on 34th Street. Going back, I just sat in front of the Port Authority bus terminal with a sign and pick up sailors who are all around looking for a ride back to Norfolk. They paid my expenses plus a profit and it never cost me a cent for my New York trips, in fact, they helped me pay for my Cadillac.I had some friends from New York and they took me to their homes for weekends; Ted, my Jewish friend, lived in Mount Vernon and I went there many times. His dad, a German immigrant with one leg thanks to medical experiments in Hitler’s Jewish concentration camps, escaped anti Semitic Germany and opened an 8 X 15 foot newspaper and candy stall on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx; he put his children through college on his earning and bought a big house in Mount Vernon. Ted and his family loved the performing arts and they took to many performances at the Ballet, Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera. We attended works by Leonard Bernstein, Isaac Stern, The New York Philharmonic, The New York Ballet, and the Metropolitan Opera. It was all a great a great education for me since I had never been exposed to such entertainment before. Sometimes I stayed at the decrepit and worn out Lincoln Hotel on Eighth Avenue and 44th Street. It was full of retired actors and musicians riding their last days sitting in the lobby and commiserating about the good-ole-days. It was perfect for sailors looking for a cheap room on weekend liberty in the Big Apple. We ate at Greek Diners most of the time, there was almost a classic quality to the New York diner experience - singing musicians/waitresses en all - and they are all over the City offering burgers, eggs and full meals at cheap prices. They all feature all-day breakfast specials, steaks, pork chops, southern fried chicken and of course, a bottomless cup of coffee, the real surprise about the menu here is that they offer every demographic - Jewish, Italian, Irish and everything else under the sun, including enormous desserts, all baked fresh on the premises daily.On one of my trips to New York I had a guy in my car who grew up on Coney Island and he said if I drove him home to Coney Island in Brooklyn he would treat me to a weekend on Mermaid Avenue and all carnival stuff that go with it. Herb told me about growing up on Coney Island that it was the best place hang out . . . Every thing was there on Mermaid Avenue; the Coney Island rides, The Cyclone Roller Coaster, Nathan’s, Steeplechase, the beach, the fishing pier, the Lowe’s on Surf Avenue, the Parachute Jump, the Wonder Wheel, Cotton Candy, Jelly Apples, Buttered Corn, Shatzkin’s Knishes, Faber’s, Playland, The Magic Carpet Fun House. We had Delis, Pizza Joints, Diners, and Italian Bakeries, Chinese restaurants, luncheonettes, Ice Cream shops and department stores.” Herb took me there and we did it all.New York City was a major port of call for freighters, cruise ships, and foreign navies. Consequentially, it had many bars geared to the tastes of salty sailors and our favorites were unlike no other watering holes or dens of iniquity inhabited by seagoing men. They had to meet strict standards to be in compliance with the acceptable requirement for a sailor beer‑swilling dump. The first and foremost requirement was a crusty old crossed anchors tattooed gal serving suds. She had to be able to wrestle King Kong to parade rest, be able to balance a tray with one hand; knock sailors out of the way with the other hand and skillfully navigate through a roomful of milling around drunks. The establishment itself had to have walls covered with ship and squadron plaques. It had to have the obligatory Michelob, Pabst Blue Ribbon and "Beer Nuts sold here" neon signs. An eight ball mystery beer tap handles and signs reading: "Your mother does not work here, so clean away your frickin' trash." "Keep your hands off the barmaid." "Don't throw butts in urinal."The bar had to have a brass foot rail and at least six Slim‑Jim containers, an oversized glass cookie jar full of Beer‑Nuts, a jar of pickled hard-boiled eggs that could produce rectal gas emissions that could shut down a sorority party, and big glass containers full of something called Pickled Pigs Feet and Polish Sausage. Only drunk Chiefs and starving Ethiopians ate pickled pigs’ feet and unless the last three feet of your colon had been manufactured by Midas, you didn't want to get any where near the Polish Napalm Dogs. Liberty bars were home and it didn't matter what country, state, or city you were in, when you walked into a good liberty bar, you felt at home. They were also establishments where 19-year-old kids received an education available nowhere else on earth. You learned how to make a two-cushion bank shot and how to toss down a beer and shot of Sun Torry known as a "depth charge."While many of our high school classmates were attending college, we were getting an education in the rolling seas in the North Atlantic or the exotic ports in the Mediterranean experiencing the orgasmic rush of a night cat shot, or the gut wrenching on a pitching deck. Our fate was the hours of tedium, experiencing the periodic discomfort of turbulence, marveling at the creation of St. Elmo's fire, and sometimes having our reverie interrupted with stark terror from crashing seas. But when we came ashore on liberty, we could rub shoulders with some of the finest men we would ever know, in bars our mothers would never have approved of, in saloons and cabarets that would live in our memories forever.Long live those liberties in the Caribbean and in the Med.! They were the greatest teachers about life and how to live it. And who can forget what Manhattan is most famous for . . . Swing Dancing. THERE are swinging parties in Manhattan nearly every night. The trick is in knowing where to find them. We have been to Swing 46 which is sandwiched between a Blarney Stone and a liquor shop on Eighth Avenue just south of Penn Station and up four flights of stairs was a scene invisible to most New Yorkers. Wild and sweaty, loud and crowded, it featured scores of smiling, ever-shifting couples energetically executing the kinetic choreography of the Lindy Hop, the Charleston, the jitterbug, the Balboa, the collegiate shag. Another great place is Sofia's at the Edison Hotel. The unwritten rule of these dance parties is to say yes to anyone and to smile regardless of what your partner does.Should I Ship Over?I was doing well in the Navy, was leading Petty Officer of Weapons (Fox) Division, had just passed Petty Officer First Class (E6) test and would get it if I reenlisted. I really liked the Navy military life and enjoyed my weapons electronics job, but I found out that my rate was so critical and hard to fill that I would have to spend six more years on my present Destroyer. I wanted a heavy cruiser like the Des Moines which would mean that my First Class Petty Officer Rank would provide lots of privileges as heavy cruisers had decent living quarters and hit more foreign ports since the bigger ships carried the Flag (Admiral) and they were always getting prime duty like world cruises. The old World War II Sumner Class Destroyers I served on are a rugged existence, life was constant sea duty, and after already doing three years at sea standing watches, going through thunder storms and hurricane rough seas, and general quarters chasing Russian submarines it was enough - I did visit twenty countries though! At that time there was no shipping over bonuses or incentives to reenlist, so I decided to get out of the Navy. I got a job as a main frame engineer with IBM, traveled the USA in all kind of interesting assignments and spent my career in ultra exciting Manhattan and taught grad school in Greenwich Village, . . . but many times I wished I stayed in the Navy . . . I loved it so!- 1960 - 1961 -IBM First Territory - Rural - Two State - Five CityAfter finishing first in my class and being trained for six months on all the IBM Unit Record equipment, I was given a two state, five-city territory consisting ofNorfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Franklin , and Elisabeth City, NC. I had the Commercial and Government customer accounts to maintain, consisting of every type of IBM Unit Record equipment. These machines were mechanical monsters and I excelled at diagnosis and repair. However, my biggest compliments from IBM came as a result of my customers’ relations ability and organizing skills in managing a large installed base of equipment spread over a very wide geographic area. In the morning, I would arrange service call response so that I could make one round robin trip and take care of all my customers. I was very self-sufficient and never once had to call for support and because I was able to fix any problem myself, I was soon sent too more training on Bank Proof machines - the machines that sort out and stamp bank checks as canceled. Every couple of months I was sent to more training on various punched card machines, sorters, collators, printers, and tabulating equipment. I really loved my job albeit as I traveled these small Southern towns, I had to fight the War of Northern Aggression a.k.a. Civil War all over again. With my manner speaking, it was no trouble for these (Redneck) Southerners to see I was from the North and they took special glee in baiting me, trying to provoke a reaction that would get me in trouble with my IBM bosses. With much diplomatic trepidation, I kept my mouth shut and did not make any comments they could take offense at, like their attitudes toward Blacks and race separation. Otherwise, I would have had massive amounts of grief from the ever-present racist red necks. What you would notice as one traveled the South was the terrible condition of the Black people, being separated from White by legalized and police enforced racial segregation and treated like dirt. Blacks didn't have good jobs and didn’t live in nice neighborhoods and you only saw them working in the lowest form of jobs as labors, dishwashers, and street cleaners. When you went downtown, they were not allowed to work in the department stores or banks, all those jobs were reserved for Whites. No matter what education a Black person had, they couldn't get a good job, they would have to travel north for good employment and for any respect. Even the Black Doctors and Lawyers professional class lived so far outside town in the country they couldn’t be accused of spoiling a White neighborhood.Life in NorfolkBack in Norfolk the South is segregated . . . And Mean! Since the Civil War, Southern institutions had made segregation and Jim Crow laws part of the main stream social and economic landscape. It was standard Southern thinking and tradition. I felt that many Southern white people supported segregation because their DNA was basically racist from four hundred years of slavery and Jim Crow, and even in these modern times, they were trained from childhood to believe in race separation based on White superiority. It was ingrained in all their evangelical religious, political, educational, and government institutions. Racial segregation and White superiority was in their bones and yet they were born again Christians . . . what a farce!Norfolk was a southern town and fighting to the death the struggle for Civil Rights. After all, they said, it - segregation - was in the Bible! We had a Black girl named Hattie Jackson working as a secretary in our IBM office. She was exceptionably beautiful and smart, but she had to live in the poor black section of town in terrible conditions because Blacks weren't allowed to live when their salary dictated they could afford better housing. Two of the accounts I took care of for IBM were the City Halls of Norfolk and Portsmouth. I listened constantly to the politicos on how they schemed to keep the Black man down. There was a Poll Tax and rigged tests you had to pass to vote. It asked impossible questions to ensure Blacks could not pass it. Of course if you were White, you automatically passed it, really didn’t have to take it. Unless you were a white racist, it was impossible to get elected in the South, as the populace feared racial integration and social modernity more than the plague.Getting Involved in PoliticsI was interested in politics and hung around the powers to be just to see how things got done and thought maybe I could make a difference in improving the plights of Blacks and modernize the South. When Jack Kennedy came on the scene running for President, I got involved even more. I supported Jack Kennedy for president and was actively doing voter registration inNorfolk and Portsmouth during the 1960 presidential campaign. It was interesting going door to door and asking for support from Southerners, who mostly didn’t know anything about Kennedy and typically voted for the most White, conservative, Anglo Saxon [WASP] candidate that supported segregation. I can't tell you how many times I heard "I am not voting for no Catholic or no damn Yankee!" Another thing I heard was "We switched to the Republicans in this family since Kennedy started talking about giving Civil Rights to them Neegras!" It was my first time getting involved with southern voters and I couldn't believe how ignorant / stupid and racist they were. I was at the political rally, when a chilly November morning in 1960, four days before Election Day, Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy visited Norfolk on one of only two campaign stops in Virginia. Arriving at Norfolk Municipal Airport in his private airplane, "The Caroline," Kennedy traveled by motorcade in a bright red convertible to the athletic field at Granby High School, where I met him and he addressed a crowd of more than 12,000 supporters and I at the biggest political rally Norfolk had ever seen. Kennedy obligingly shook all our hands and signed autographs, then made a short speech before returning to the airport to fly to Roanoke.Free MasonsIn Milwaukee, my Grandmother was an Eastern Star and my uncle was a Mason. I belonged to the DeMolay during my high school years, was an officer and participated in the Annual Shriner’s Circus as a clown. So when my Virginia Dismal Swamp hunting and Chesapeake Bay fishing buddies wanted to sponsor me for the Portsmouth Masons, I said OK. The Freemasons, also known simply as Masons, is a fraternal philanthropic organization with lodges in almost every community of the world. Masons come from every profession and religious background. Joining the Masons’ benefits’ you in many ways. Members of the brotherhood take care of each other in difficult times. They also build lasting friendships in the community. Many prominent members of the founding generation‑‑George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and indeed 13 of the 39 signers of the Constitution‑‑had been members. I was investigated and accepted and did my various catechisms to become a Master Member. But my chapter didn’t accept blacks, they said Black people weren’t free born, but were slaves in the USA or had a slave history, so they didn’t meet the free born requirement for membership in the Masons. Blacks joined their version of the Masons called the Prince Hall organization. I couldn’t believe such stupidity and reminded them that in the ancient world, the whites were slaves to the Greeks and Romans. They didn’t know what I was talking about. It was like I was in a different world of full of organized racism and institutionalized accepted prejudice. During these formative years, I was involved in the Civil Rights struggle for Blacks and was disgusted with these ignorant views. I refused to be part of an organization that discriminated like that. After a few years I quit. . I almost had my 32nd degree too but it is what it is!- 1962 - 1966 -Second Territory - Norfolk Naval Base -Life at IBMWhereas I didn’t run into any Blacks working in computer rooms in my two states - five city rural territories, the Naval Base was inundated with Black computer operators and I quickly learned that the IBM culture had very negative feelings toward Blacks and the Civil Rights movement and were quite open with their racist attitudes. I had developed several friendships with Black computer operators that were highly resented by other IBM employees and naval base personnel. One day in the Naval Base cafeteria I sat at the Black lunch table to finish a conversation where I was analyzing a computer problem with a Black operator. Within the hour I was called down to the main office on 21st Street where I was told in no un certain terms to stay away from Blacks on any personal basis. My boss reminded me I was in the South and my ‘Yankee’ orientation was not going over well with the whites at the naval base. The moral compass in the South was off track and I felt I was in the land of the Devil and didn’t think I would stay here long for I valued and needed personal freedom for myself and others. But I wondered what IBM would do to my career. But as it turned out, IBM sent me on special assignments to the North many times, including teaching peripheral courses at the 8th Avenue Educational center in Manhattan . I learned to really like Manhattan for it exemplified the land of freedom to me and I volunteered for any temporary assignments there.IBM sent me to more schools and like the first one; I continued to finish first in every class. Every day, there were pop quizzes and weekly there were lengthy tests. Weekly grades were averaged and class ranking was posted. There was great praise heaped on those who stayed in the top three of the class. I finished first in my first IBM school and was able to finish in the top three of any of the dozens and 2 ½ years of IBM school I eventually went too. Being a top student, and being responsible and trusted, able to fix computers and get along with customers well, kept me coming back to more IBM schools and going on special assignments. IBM rewarded their best people with more education on their newest technology and entrusted them with their most mission critical assignments.But I continued to have problems with IBM over my liberal view of race relations. My boss chewed me out several times because I was considered to be too friendly with Blacks at the Navy Base. This highly upset some whites who called my office complaining, saying “I was a disgrace to the White race, “explaining “after all the South was segregated and I was exhibiting a friendly attitude toward Neegras.” Being a Northerner, I told Harry that I didn’t believe in racial segregation and Harry always told me, “When in Rome act like the Romans do.”Life in the 1960s SouthThe Civil War is like a mountain range that guards all roads into the South: you can’t go there without encountering it. Specifically, you can’t go there without addressing a question that may seem as if it shouldn’t even be a question - to wit: what caused the war? One hundred years after the event, the Confederate Flag still flies south of the Mason Dixon line and southerners don't think the Civil War had anything to do with slavery - regardless that Jefferson Davis and all the seceding states stated slavery was the reason for the war. It was the 1960s and African Americans were waging epic struggles for civil rights that altered white Southerners’ worlds that reacted with hostility. They feared social and political change, and grappled uncomfortably with the fact that their way of life seemed gone for good.The “Southern way of life” encompassed a distinctive mix of economic, social, and cultural practices — symbolized by the fragrant magnolia, the slow pace of life, and the sweet mint julep, a popular alcoholic beverage. It also contained implications about the region’s racial order - one in which whites wielded power and blacks accommodated. Centuries of slavery and decades of segregation cemented a legal and political system characterized by white dominance. By the 20th century, “Jim Crow” had become shorthand for legalized segregation. Massive inequalities marked every facet of daily life. Blacks always addressed whites as “Mr.” or “Mrs.,” though whites seldom bestowed such courtesy titles on African Americans. Blacks labored in white homes as nannies, cooks, maids, and yardmen. Whites expected docility; black resistance seemed unfathomable.Through the long years of slavery and segregation, white Southerners produced and absorbed cruel stereotypes about African Americans: that they were unclean and shiftless, unintelligent and oversexed. Blacks became either clowns or savages, with no area in between. Whites often defined themselves — their status, identities, daily lives, and self-worth — in relation to these concocted notions about African Americans. If blacks were submissive and infantile, whites were strong and dignified. Blackness meant degradation; to be free was to be white. The civil rights struggle threatened to hoist African Americans up and out of this social “place” that whites had created for them. White Southerners would find blacks in their schools and neighborhoods, their restaurants, and polling places. Many whites feared this vision of the Southern future. Many white Southerners came to believe that African Americans abided - and even enjoyed — their roles as second-class citizens. When the civil rights movement tore through the South in the 1950s and 1960s, it exposed the falsity of such beliefs. At long last, African Americans voiced their discontent and demanded dignity. Black rebellion clashed so sharply with white perceptions that many disbelieved their own eyes. And as grassroots organizers led a mass movement for black equality, whites rose up in resistance.The U.S. Supreme Court, with its 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, ensured that Southern schools would become the first battlegrounds. The court ruled that segregated schools stamped black children with a “badge of inferiority,” and that Southern states must integrate their schools “with all deliberate speed.”Southern politicians denounced the court ruling. In language that played upon whites’ underlying racial fears and stoked contempt for the federal government, senators such as Harry Byrd of Virginia claimed the court had overstepped its bounds. White Southerners tried to circumvent the order, and rallied to beat back desegregation at every turn. Local leaders and businessmen organized themselves into Citizens Councils, groups that visited economic reprisal upon any blacks — or whites — who dared advocate integration. In 1957, a federal court ordered integration of the Little Rock, Arkansas, public schools. Nine blacks were selected to enroll in Little Rock’s Central High School, but Governor Orval Faubus blocked the students from the schoolhouse door. After initial reluctance, President Dwight Eisenhower mobilized a battle group of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division to enforce the court order by escorting the “Little Rock Nine” to class. When several African-American teenagers finally arrived at Central, they encountered a vicious white mob.Parents jeered the incoming students and the federal marshals who protected them. Enraged white Southerners deplored a scene they thought had died with Reconstruction: that of federal troops protecting blacks’ civil rights in the South. Millions of white Southerners found champions in politicians such as Alabama’s governor, George Wallace, who both cultivated and exploited for political gain a deep anti-civil-rights sentiment. In his 1963 inaugural address, Wallace declared: “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” He became the very picture of white resistance. Members of the Ku Klux Klan — a violent organization driven by racism, anti-Semitism, and nativism — persisted in a similar delusion: that the bloodshed they inflicted could postpone the day of racial equality. In 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama, Klansmen bombed a black Baptist church and killed four girls. The next year, Klansmen in Philadelphia, Mississippi, murdered three civil rights workers and buried them under an earthen dam. Such gruesome violence sickened many white Southerners, and rifts emerged within the white South. Still, a majority desired the same end — a return to the nostalgic days when blacks doffed their hats to whites and acquiesced to their roles in the segregated Jim Crow order.The Civil Rights Act integrated businesses and public facilities. Suddenly, whites had to serve blacks in their stores and dine beside them at restaurants. Such changes shattered the rhythm of white southerners’ daily lives. Many whites denounced the “Civil Wrongs Bill,” holding that such federal laws imperiled their own rights. They clung to the notion that rights were finite, and that as blacks gained freedom, whites must suffer a loss of their own liberties. On the precarious seesaw of Southern race relations, whites thought they would plummet if blacks ascended. Throughout black-majority areas, the Voting Rights Act granted African Americans a stunning new power. In these citadels of the old slave south, where whites were outnumbered by a ratio of almost four-to-one, blacks voted some of their own into political office. In several rural locales, like Macon County and Greene County, Alabama, African Americans suddenly wielded political power. Before the civil rights years, few whites could have conceived of such transformations. By the 1970s, the previously unthinkable became political reality. The civil rights movement forever altered white Southerners’ everyday lives, upended their traditional attitudes about blacks, and, in some towns, shifted the balance of political power. It stripped the veneers of docility from African Americans and invested them with a new dignity. Life seemed unrecognizable to many white Southerners. Confronted with a reality they had barely contemplated, some whites retaliated with any weapons at their disposal. Others attempted to avoid the upheaval; they tried to maintain cherished ways of life even as the ground shifted beneath their feet. In the end, evasion proved impossible. While whites fought the civil rights movement with varying strategies of resistance, few escaped its long reach.The Ku Klux Klan advocated white supremacy and employed terrorism and violence against African Americans, Jews, Catholics, and others. Extremism on one side often handed victory to the other. The Klan’s horrifying violence pricked white America’s conscience and, ultimately, moved the nation closer to passage of epic civil rights legislation — the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. When President Lyndon Johnson, himself a native Texan and a Southerner, helped usher the legislation through Congress, white Southerners felt betrayed.In the end, the civil rights movement transformed the South and the nation. As it changed Southerners’ lives and minds, some whites felt they had been liberated — freed from the mandate to degrade and oppress, free from the roles they assumed in the constricting racial hierarchy. Into the 21st century, however, racial inequality continues to haunt American life. Black Americans remain disproportionately impoverished, imprisoned, and undereducated. Yet many ghosts of the Jim Crow South have vanished. After the civil rights movement, African Americans could attend integrated schools, they ran for — and won — political office and they lived with a dignity that the culture of Jim Crow had denied. These changes also seeped into white Southern life and reshaped its very contours. The civil rights movement pushed Southerners, black and white alike, further along the path toward racial equality.The south is several dichotomies, it had lots of unredeemable racist red necks (not all red necks were racist) who ran around burning crosses and wearing white hooded sheets terrorizing and murdering blacks and whites who sought the integration cause; they are stupid types, uneducated, violent and hateful and they seem to run things. It has middle class whites who let the racists do their thing and are afraid of racial integration and fight it in every way they can, voting for segregationist governors and legislatures who expose lots of hate talk; and then there are the very few who realize the south is wrong about segregation and will pay a price for it later on, but think integration has to move slow since there is such a great divide between black and white. Interestingly, all go to the local evangelical church, profess being conservative Christians, and use scriptures to justify their racism, violence and efforts to keep the south segregated. The south is the Bible belt, southerners are serious about religion, but it hasn't made nay difference in their moral character, but has made the situation worse since southerners use the bible to justify their nasty racial beliefs and actions. The south is also about hunting, fishing and boating. Everyone has a collection of guns and many carry pistols. It's an easy life, normally with little stress, things and Negroes are in their place, and society is organized, simple, and not pretentious. There is no night life since the south is dry, no liquor allowed unless you know a boot and they seem to be in every neighborhood. There were no big national type circuses, but there were plenty of those carnivals and side shows coming to town and setting up in a local grassy field - all seating segregated of course, but they were very popular. Most of the big entertainers stayed up north to play to integrated audiences, but sometimes a famous black performer (Ray Charles) would come to a black church and perform. The south was totally without the sophistication of the north, they were at the bottom of American civilization but that is just the why they wanted it. They constantly complained about Yankees and how they think, their big cities with subways, sky scrappers and night clubs frightened them, and all that racial mixing stuff at work and in the clubs just appalled them.Living in a legally racially segregated (de jure) society was like being imprisoned in a dysfunctional and poorly maintained county jail headed by a vicious and corrupt warden. To keep a dog on a leash, you have to hold the leash and both ends suffer psychotic damage, albeit one end more than the other, it is a degrading experience for both ends. White southerners couldn’t comprehend they were putting bars around their own existence, lowering their own standard of living with racial segregation, and after all, the Blacks were basically no different from them. It wasn’t like you were comparing rocket scientists with ditch diggers; everyone lived basically the same lives, talked the same lingo, ate the same foods, listened to the same music and went to drum beating apostolic churches. What were these White Southern idiots doing? Were they crazy? But as stupid as it sounds, racial segregation was widely supported by White southerners. A local Norfolk T.V. broadcast newsman who lived behind me, Leroy Van Camp, and Reverend Wyatt from my Sweet Haven Baptist, said the Civil Rights movement was a Communist conspiracy and the Federal government was Fascist for trying to desegregate the South. News TV Broadcasters would actually say that crap on the evening news. And worse, Rev. Wyatt’s sermons constantly preached that Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King were communists and the Lord was the ‘Great Segregator.’The South was more than a hundred years behind the North in terms of industrial development and municipal civility because of their racist polices, no corporations or immigrants wanted to be there, and the South was actually in a state of great social anarchy and was economically poor compared to the North. The world was asking, “Were Southern Whites just simply stupid in addition to being racist?” “Do these ignorant Red Necks really think they were better than the Blacks?” Well, at least they have the White part of Heaven to look forward too. In time, I became more concerned with the Black struggle as the civil rights movement rippled through the South and eventually got involved in demonstrations, but mostly I just spoke up at meetings. I got into tremendous trouble for these actions with IBM and my family. My wife had classic southern sympathies and all my friends were racists both at work and in church. Because of my empathy for the Black struggle for equal rights, I was slowly and surely ostracized from any close personal relationships.For the second time I sat at the Black table to finish a conversation I was having about a computer problem and the shit hit the fan. Within the hour I was called down to the main office where I was told in no un certain terms to stay away from Blacks. My boss said there were to be no conversations with Blacks and definitely not to sit with them at their table in the cafeteria. I was told I was a disgrace to the White Race. I told him to fuck himself. My career at IBM looked like it was on hold, or maybe that is one reason IBM sent me on so many special assignments up North. Later, I found out that some of the IBM customer engineers were complaining to IBM management about my friendly relationships with Blacks. They complained I treated Blacks with too much respect, like they were equal. You were supposed to talk down to Blacks, and say things like “COME HERE BOY.”At that moment I was ready to leave IBM and get out of the South! Often, it looked like my career at IBM was on hold, or maybe over. My coworker said, “Read your Bible, white men were not to treat blacks equally.” Even some of the blacks were saying to me, “What is wrong you man, you are not up North!”1963 - The Year of TurmoilBirminghamCivil Rights were afoot and then came along Martin Luther King, Jr., a Baptist minister, who was a driving force in the push for racial equality in the 1950's and the 1960's. In 1963, King and his staff focused onBirmingham,Alabama. They marched and protested nonviolently, raising the ire of local officials who sicced water cannon and police dogs on the marchers, whose ranks included teenagers and children. The bad publicity and breakdown of business forced the white leaders of Birmingham to concede to some anti segregation demands. King adhered to Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolence. In 1955 he began his struggle to persuade the US Government to declare the policy of racial discrimination in the southern states unlawful. The racists responded with violence to the black people's nonviolent initiatives. Martin Luther King dreamed that all inhabitants of the United States would be judged by their personal qualities and not by the color of their skin. In April 1968 he was murdered by a white racist. The battle lines are drawn in Birmingham, Alabama, that was, in 1960, "probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States." Although the city's population of almost 350,000 was 60% white and 40% black, Birmingham (as most southern cities) had no black police officers, firefighters, sales clerks in department stores, bus drivers, bank tellers, or store cashiers. Black secretaries could not work for white professionals. Jobs available to blacks were limited to manual labor inBirmingham's steel mills, work in household service and yard maintenance, or work in black neighborhoods. When layoffs were necessary, black employees were the first to go. The unemployment rate for blacks was two and a half times higher than for whites. The average income for blacks in the city was less than half that of whites. Significantly lower pay scales for black workers at the local steel mills were common. Racial segregation of public and commercial facilities throughoutJefferson County was legally required, covered all aspects of life, and was rigidly enforced. Only 10 percent of the city's black population was registered to vote in 1960. The Civil Rights plan called for direct nonviolent action to attract media attention to "the biggest and baddest city of the South," with a variety of nonviolent methods of confrontation, including sit-ins at libraries and lunch counters, kneel‑ins by black visitors at white churches, and a march to the county building to mark the beginning of a voter‑registration drive. Most businesses responded by refusing to serve demonstrators. Some white spectators at a sit‑in at a Woolworth's lunch counter spat upon the participants.A significant factor in the success of the Birmingham campaign was the personality of its contentious Commissioner of Public Safety, Eugene "Bull" Connor. Described as an "arch‑segregationist" by Time magazine, Connor asserted that the city "ain't gonna segregate no niggers and whites together in this town [sic].” He also apparently believed that the Civil Rights Movement was a Communist plot, and after the churches were bombed, Connor blamed the violence on local blacks. Birmingham's government was set up in such a way that it gave Connor powerful influence. In 1958, police arrested ministers organizing a bus boycott. When the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) initiated a probe amid allegations of police misconduct for the arrests, Connor responded that he "[hadn't] got any damn apology to the FBI or anybody else,” and predicted, "If the North keeps trying to cram this thing [desegregation] down our throats, there's going to be bloodshed." In 1961, Connor delayed sending police to intervene when Freedom Riders were beaten by local mobs. The police harassed religious leaders and protest organizers by ticketing cars parked at mass meetings and entering the meetings in plainclothes to take notes. The Birmingham Fire Department interrupted such meetings to search for "phantom fire hazards.” President John F. Kennedy later said of him, "The Civil Rights movement should thank God for Bull Connor. He's helped it as much as Abraham Lincoln."The Sit-InsState and local ordinances known as Jim Crow laws in Southern states prohibited interracial interaction in most areas of public life: restaurants, schools, courtrooms, buses and trains, movie theaters, even reform schools and of course - dating and marriage. Starting 50 years ago students across the South decided to change that. The tactic became known as sit-ins, and in 1960, tens of thousands of students across the South were doing it — protesting racial discrimination that had scarred their parents, risking their futures to try to ensure a better one for their children. Within days, sit-ins were happening all over the South.The tactic they chose was simple: They sat at lunch counters and waited to be served. The stores refused to serve them, and the students were arrested and hauled off to jail, sometimes after being beaten and spat on by white mobs. Sit-ins had been tried in more than a dozen cities starting in 1958 in Wichita , but none ignited passions like the one in Greensboro . By the end of February, sit-ins had taken place in 31 cities and in 71 by March, according to Branch. By October, sit-ins had occurred in 112 Southern cities.Fifty years ago, the stores along Granby in Norfolk and High Street in Portsmouth, specifically, their lunch counters and the city itself were the site of a battle that also played out in dozens of other cities in the South. They were segregated and Blacks were forbidden to sit at 'White only' lunch counters. The fight pitted black college students and a few of their white peers against the city's white power structure and its downtown merchants over the right to sit down and eat lunch. They held mock sit-ins, learning not to respond if attacked. Many black parents feared for their children's future — and their lives. Angry white youths heckled, beat and spat on them. They went to Woolworth, made small purchases, then sat down at the lunch counters and asked to be served. "We don't serve Neegras here." They waited, as other shoppers stared. The students sat for a few hours, then left. They returned again and again over the next two weeks, adding a fourth store, Grants, then a fifth, Walgreen's. For the white community, there was shock, anger, overwhelmingly negative feelings. The business community adopted a very steel-backed approach, rigid and very negative. Their numbers grew with each subsequent sit-in. After a few weeks, the city had decided to crack down and Portsmouth police arrested 81 students. However, after months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, Woolworth, Grant's, Walgreen's and Cain-Sloan served black customers at their lunch counters for the first time.The lunch counter of 1960 was the equivalent of fast-food restaurants today. Hamburger chains were just beginning to appear on the American landscape. Ray Kroch had opened his first McDonald's about five years earlier; Burger King had gone national just the year before. People wanting a sandwich or a hamburger popped over to the lunch counter of department stores, drugstores and five-and-dime stores to have a bite. But Blacks couldn't eat there! The South was as segregated by race as any city in South Africa during apartheid. The sit-ins were the real starting point of the protests of the 1960s.The Black Baptist PastorIt’s a wonder how small little happenings in ones life can endure major changes, but a good example was my learning how to rebuild car engines. I had this old 1948 Plymouth whose engine had conked out and I was going to try to rebuild it, learning as I went. I figured, “What could I lose, the car was junk anyway.” I had the head off and was trying to get the pistons out and was over at the local Car Parts dealer getting some tools and asking for advice. Another customer standing there, a Black man, offered some expert advice, in fact he came to my house, but as was the custom for Black people coming to a White person’s house, came to the back door. (“What” I thought) I learned that he was a Baptist preacher in Church land living in a shanty town off of Route 17, which was not too far from my house on Hatton Point Road. I will tell you this that man knew his cars! That was the beginning of a relationship with him where I took him as my mentor in learning about car engine repair. One day I am at his shanty house getting some advice and sitting at his kitchen table having a cup of coffee. He asked me if I could take his teenage daughter to the grocery store to pick up something and I said sure. She got in the front seat and off we went, it was only just around the corner at a shopping center on Route 17 in Church land. As I pulled onto a highway, a State Trooper pulled us over. With his pot belly and strong Southern Accent, he said, “What are you doing with this Neegra woman in your front seat?” I explained I was taking her to the grocery store. “Boy, don’t you know that you never ride a Neegra woman in your front seat, looks like your taking her out, and you know that is illegal in Virginia.” “By the way, you talk funny, are you a god-damned Yankee?” This went on and finally he let me go after the girl got in the back seat. Do I have to tell you how I felt?Sweet Haven Baptist ChurchI belonged to the Sweet Haven Baptist church pastored by Reverend Wyatt and what a God-fearing, Bible-toting, sugary-sweet and loving bunch of racists most of them were, including Reverend Wyatt himself who was the worst racist of all, and a Pastor at that. They were all bible thumping died in the wool segregationists and hid behind the scriptures for the worst sins man perpetuated on another man. I heard all about Neegras was this, the Jews that, Yankees were worse for trying to change the South, and even the Catholics had special nasty names. Bible thumping - sweet scripture talking - bigots, it was a very hateful southern society. Again, I tried to forget about it, to all these horrible attitudes. Something to live with while down South I reasoned. After all, it seemed the hated everyone not like them. But little did I know then that all this was burning a hole inside me and that it would explode later.Jr. Chamber of CommerceI joined the Portsmouth Jr. Chamber of Commerce and became quite active. There were many worthwhile causes we participated in. Meetings were held once a month and were accompanied with famous speakers. Being a Military town, many of these speakers were Admirals, but many were local politicians who openly advocated segregation in the face of the Civil Rights movement being conducted at the time. I associated with all the local politicos and military types.Ku Klux KlanOne time I made speech on an HUD project being considered for downtown Portsmouth, which was nothing but shacks inhabited by Black people. Whites were against raising this ghetto and replacing it with decent housing because they did not want conditions for Blacks to improve. I was for the project and was threatened with a ride out of town and a beating by the Ku Klux Klan. I invited them to try it now and I was prepared to beat the Holy loving shit out of them on the spot but they declined and left saying they knew where I lived. I started packing my P38 Luger then. “Fucking Southern White trash cowards!Ms America Beauty PageantThe Jr. Chamber of Commerce sponsored the local Miss America beauty pageant, which afforded me the opportunity to participate in several Miss America Pageants as a Judge and organizer. I found out that only White girls could participate even though the Black girls I had erroneously evaluated were more qualified.Civil Rights Movement AcceleratesThe 1960's were rolling down into the volatile Civil Rights Movement. I would be on the main streets of Norfolk and Portsmouth when the Blacks were claiming their rights for access to public facilities. The police would usually set the dogs upon them and swing away with night sticks. One day as I tried to enter a Bank in Portsmouth there was a street demonstration at the next door Woolworth concerning Blacks being unable to sit at the Lunch counter. The police came, set the dogs on the demonstrators, and swung away with their night sticks. I was caught in the middle and got hit by the police and bitten by the dogs. This experience got me really angry at racist Whites and I started to vocally take the sides of Blacks in the South. Soon, I had become a Civil Rights activist and would pay the piper for it too.Race, Politics, and ReligionThe Southern men I knew didn’t discuss politics, race or religion, nevertheless they were family oriented, religious and very patriotic. Most had military backgrounds and served in either World War II or Korea. They were matter of fact, down to earth realists who lived close to the land and spent most of their life fishing, hunting and drinking, typically working in low paid blue collar jobs. They didn’t try to live fancy, appreciated hard work and perseverance and loathed the welfare culture prevalent in the North. The South was racially segregated and they supported this separation of the races, but on the other hand, they never personally treated Blacks poorly. I could never understand this racial thing in the South and didn’t believe in racial segregation, thinking it was morally wrong and kept the South from acceptance in the modern world and keeping away industry, modern technology and good jobs. I like Black people and their culture and I worked for integration within my Jr. Chamber of Commerce Chapter and Sweet Haven Baptist Church and was often ostracized for the effort. My hunting partners knew of my sympathies and kidded me about being a Nigger lover, but it stopped there otherwise I would have gotten angry and taken them to task.March on Washington for Jobs and FreedomOn August 28, 1963, more than 250,000 Americans gathered in Washington, D.C., for a political rally known as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Organized by a number of civil rights and religious groups, the event was designed to shed light on the political and social challenges African Americans continued to face across the country. The march, which became a key moment in the growing struggle for civil rights in the United States, culminated in Martin Luther King Mr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a spirited call for racial justice and equality. Many thought the event would descend into violence, but it did not. There were 5,000 police officers, National Guardsmen and Army Reservists present, but no marchers were arrested, and no incidents concerning marchers were reported. The march was the culmination of the civil rights movement, and it is credited for helping spur lawmakers to pass the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965.I was working TAD at the Treasury Department and went to the march. It was a mind bending terrific experience! I stepped out of the building and made my way to 16th street. The first thing I saw were hundreds of black men and women with an occasional white person linked arm in arm forming a row stretching curb to curb across the street. They came row after row after row with no end in sight, and they were in unison chanting a lilting one word song, “Freedom, Freedom, Freedom, Freedom, and Freedom!”The melody is in my memory even today, and occasionally over the years I have burst into the compelling chant: Freedom, Freedom, Freedom, Freedom, Freedom. I looked into the faces and eyes of those forming each line, passing as it were in review. I wondered who they were, where they came from, how far was their journey, why were they really here? Each person was different and yet each line was the same with their expressions positive and exuding a pleasant demeanor and happiness in the moment. I began to move upstream beside the flow of humanity and walked along the mall all the way to the Capitol. People were lining the street on both sides of the march. Everywhere I saw a sea of people and parked empty buses. I wanted to see everything, to absorb the moment, to try and understand what was going on. I went from the Capitol back along the mall and wandered among the throngs in the general direction of the Washington Monument looking for where the focus was for this day. I looked at the people individually and collectively, never feeling the least bit uncomfortable as I moved among them until at last I found myself on a rise of ground. So I stood there, literally in the shadow of the Washington Monumenton a warm summer’s day, and saw the crowd focused on the men clustered before the microphones toward the Lincoln Memorial. I remember being struck immediately by the sea of faces and the variety of people and signs: civil rights organizations, labor unions young and old. I believe that the march started somewhat abruptly as we headed toward the Lincoln Memorial. I remember singing, chanting, holding hands with strangers - a sense of great joy and optimism.I had reached the Memorial somewhat early and remember watching the program from the left side of the reflecting pool as you face the Memorial. The speeches and songs all blur together for me. I remember Marian Anderson, Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul, and Mary and Joan Baez singing. The speeches run together. I'm pretty sure that I heard John Lewis, A. Phillip Randolph and Walter Reuther, although I could not say what any of them, other than Lewis, one of my heroes, said. I remember the songs, and those who sang that day, Mahalia Jackson, Odetta, Peter Paul and Mary, the Freedom Singers. I remember Joan Baez leading "Oh, Freedom," and "We Shall Overcome." The songs carried the message of the day. I was awed by the size of the crowd, and the feeling of celebration. We were young and old, black and white, teachers and students, religious leaders and trade union workers.I remember hearing Dr. Martin Luther King speak. How his voice, like the voices of the singers, filled me with hope, and a deep, abiding sense that change wasn't only possible, but inevitable. I listened as the man spoke. I didn’t know what the genesis of his message was, but I had heard enough sermons growing up in a Christian family to know I was hearing a great message, perhaps even a sermon. As I heard the concluding words, I knew what I was hearing would have impact, many aspects of which vibrated with the core beliefs of Christianity: love, brotherhood and sisterhood, equality and freedom for all. Some of the words I remember hearing with great clarity were: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.”Those words immediately struck a chord for me, because we all have a dream, and part of the foundation of those dreams is our equality before our Creator. The following kind of jumped out at me as he said, “little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” and the remarkable closing words, “And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.’”It was what I call a foundational experience. It was my first in depth experience with black America. It was very positive. In the years that followed, the news often featured things people were doing to change the status of black people in this country. Despite the opinions and prejudices that might have been held by anyone around me at the time, I always saw the black community’s struggle through the lens of that uplifting day in Washington. They were part of America , and they desired freedom. He held my attention to his last word.The conclusion of that great speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. brought completeness to my experiences that day, and I returned to the office in time to “quit” and walk to my hotel. The sights, sounds, and emotions of that day have remained with me over the years along with a certain amount of pride in the fact that, as Walter Cronkite would say in his 50s weekly TV show, “You were there.” Yep, me and Forest Gump! I was there! The next year, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.The march itself has had a profound effect on me. I continued in movements for racial justice, peace and equality. That day in Washington left me with a sense of optimism about the possibility of real change, a sense that has been challenged in recent years with the rise (again) of bigotry and hatred in the USA ...Historically, the March on Washington broadened the base of the civil rights movement. The March was not a Negro action; it was an action by Negroes and whites together. Not just the leaders of the Negro organizations, but leading Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish spokesmen called the people into the streets. And Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, white and black, responded. This response obviated the danger that the revolt would be an argument between Negroes and whites over a few jobs. It began the process of focusing attention where it belongs: on the problem of what kind of economic and political changes are required to make it possible for everyone to have jobs. The success of the March also put the Kennedy administration on the spot. Even newspapers which had opposed the March right up until the day it took place turned around afterwards and asked Kennedy to come through for us. But Kennedy cannot come through as easily as some people seem to think. For there is no way to satisfy the Negro and his allies under "politics as usual." Our demands cannot be met so long as the Dixiecrats maintain their political and economic power. And their power is maintained not only through the well-known coalition with Republicans, but through alliances and compromises with their fellow Democrats as well.When Dr. King was murdered, I was upset. It was senseless. He was a powerful, powerful speaker who knew how to use words to great effect. Looking back on it, his speech at the march on Washington was the first time I saw a real bridge between religion and politics. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was basically a pastor and had strong Christian beliefs, and he brought that into the political arena to help accomplish his goals.New York IBMersAs it turned out, I spent many years working for IBM traveling around the USA on special assignments, especially to Manhattan where the world’s biggest applications lived. New York IBM people were far different from the southern IBM types I worked with in Norfolk at the naval base. First of all, many of the New Yorkers were black, Asian, Latino, something that you wouldn’t see in the south for many years. Second, they were all ethnic, young and crazy, highly educated graduates from Ivy League universities where brains, having big city competitive skills, and where strong and agreeable personalities counted, something you would never see in the south, where being white, seriously religious and politically conservative was the standard mantra. Bless me, Lord I almost forgot, if you had lots of guns, hunted and fished, that counted too.One thing that is very different is the societal differences between the girls in the North and the girls in the South as many southern women (and men) are still fighting the war and blaming the north for all their woes. And talking about women, personally, I have noticed that women in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, etc. all have big hair and use perfume and heavy makeup, while in New York women tend to look natural, using minimal makeup, with little to no perfume and having small natural hair. I was discovering that women in New York can be really out there, wearing mini skirts and braless halters, but that doesn’t mean at all they are easy. They didn’t dress up like they were in a fashion show, but in more practical terms for a big city, being on subways and walking a lot on their tennis shoes. Northern women, in my growing experience, were very independent and professed to prefer "men to be men, and women to be women," which I suppose indicates a preference for traditional gender roles. They also liked well educated and well-employed men with a sense of humor. They didn't like bigots and religious freaks who tended to be weird preachy types with horrible judgmental attitudes. I thought they would never like southern women then.Race is a determining factor on why the south is so different than the rest of the USA, fundamentalist religion and ultra conservative politics are two more. I found in the north, education and career types were determining factors, basically corporate verses union jobs, and the mix of people in every career removed race considerations and no one thought of religion or politics - everyone just got along. And no one liked assholes, those pontificating types who rule their space with blasts of ideology crap depicting their spaced out views on the world. But there is significant North - South regional differences based on rural and urban life styles. When I lived in a rural community there was a jar of tea on my porch, the elderly attendant at the gas station filled my car for me, people talked to each other while waiting in line, people waved to each other on the road, shops and restaurants closed on Sunday, everyone looked out for each other's kids. When I moved to an urban setting in the same state most of those things disappeared.One good thing, I had been spending so much time in Dismal Swamp hunting deer and on Chesapeake Bay fishing with the boys that I had forgotten what a real New York bar was like. New York was nothing like dull dismal Norfolk.New York was a colorful universe, diverse and full of excitement. My first night in the City I took the F train to Greenwich Village and walked around. This was so different from Norfolk’s decrepit downtown streets. I marveled at the exciting street scenes filled with artists selling their paintings, small coffee shops with tables out on the side walk, thousands of interesting looking people walking around, and the hundreds of clubs/bars/restaurants that dotted the area where you could eat, dance, and engage in interesting conversations with intelligent people while drinking espresso in a street cafe.Every night I walked around Times Square, often I would take the F Train to the Village and walk around too. If we had known that the scrawny guy onstage at that Greenwich Village folk club might someday amount to something, I would have talked about it. It was Bob Dylan when Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg held court at house parties in Greenwich Village, or Andy Warhol at his studio, the Factory. It was the time when the hippies in Greenwich Village were the incubator for the cultural movements that shook the world. Walking around Greenwich Village you can experience both the Bohemian lifestyles of those long ago and the newly present boutique stores and cafes. I wondered around the Village looking for Jazz and street cafes where I could get an espresso. Several times I went into the au Go Go was which was an oasis for folk music, jazz, comedy, blues and rock. The club was the first New York venue for the Grateful Dead, and Joni Mitchell. Richie Havens and the Blues Project were weekly regulars.I found Washington Square Park , a place I would later have an office next to and have lunch in, and fell in love with the place. Some of the best memories are in this park. It's full of NYU students, political dissidents and demonstrators, and people watchers looking for a new adventure. Like talking to an old man dressed in all pink wearing a rubber pig nose. It’s always a must hang out spot for me every time I'm in the City. Get a couple of sandwiches from Mammon's, find a spot and absorb the scene. There are always people around -- students, musicians, artists, tourists, and NYers looking for a place to hang out and enjoy the sun. During the day the square is bustling with people and it's always fun to see what the theater majors at NYU are up to. It's a terrific people watching spot day or night when you're out with friends or with a date. At night, the park is mellower. The musicians are still out, creating a soundtrack. The music, twinkling lights and fountain lend a romantic backdrop for dreamers and lovers.Walking around Washington Square Park, I heard some really down to earth music blaring out to the street and I went into a place called the Monkey's Paw. It was filled to the brim with people of every type, every color, in all modes of dress. After I got a drink and settled in, I met this young and gorgeous Black girl who grabbed my arm, and led me off to a small sitting room where we talked. I was totally shocked! Never in a million years would the old South have a place like this. She was Black, and I was White. My God, they put you in jail for race mixing down South. It scared me to death, I expected the police to arrive any minute and arrest me. She laughed when she heard of my fears. Not in Manhattan, she exclaimed. Needless to say, it didn't take me long to give up my inhibitions and start thinking and acting like a New Yorker.The Roseland Ballroom is in New York City 's theater district on West 52nd Street. I love to dance and found my way to Roseland where a thousand people gathered, standing around listening to the orchestra, and waiting for something to be played they wanted to dance to. Girls were all eager to dance, and what surprised me, was the Ballroom expertise most of them had. The crowd was interring racial and many dances were like the dance styles made famous in the old Savoy Ballroom in Harlem . The music covered all genres, Guy Lombardo, Sammy Kay, with The Fox Trot, Waltz, Rumba, Cha Cha, Mambo, Merengue, and Tango. Dancers showed off fancy footwork and twirled until they were dizzy.After living in the south for years, I had acquired a slight southern Virginia accent (I had to for survival in Virginia ) and New Yorkers would refer to my Southern dialect as a “hick accent.” The first few weeks, these New Yorkers had fun with me, being the only southerner in the IBM group. Believe it or not, I really was a southerner in many ways too, besides working in high technology; I had more than twenty guns, became part of the southern gun culture, had lots of “Good-ole-boy” friends, and hunted in Dismal Swamp and fished on Chesapeake Bay for years. But indeed, the south was a strange and violent place to me and I did not like many aspects of its culture. They would regularly mimic me by yakking like a hillbilly and excessively using words like “y’all” and “Coke” to mock me. So I accused them of using the phrase “youse guys” all the time which takes a simple phrase and makes it complicated, it’s like they are all born with a natural speech impediment. It didn't seem to make any difference that I was one of those southerners who fought for social equality for the blacks and had been to the March on Washington last year to hear Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech.”Finally, I loved nothing more than when they asked the expected “Why do youse guys hate Black people?” Ah, all right, I had to admit it! Southerners used the term “Neegras” and were a little racist - some were really racist and mean too, it’s in their blood, goes back to slavery and Jim Crow, but they were not born wearing white robes and holding burning crosses. Only a few do that! I reminded them that it might be true that southerners are indeed more accommodating of blacks than Northerners. After all, the south has 85% of the black population, and Blacks make up about a third of the South compared too only about 1% of the North, consequentially, many Southerners have more real‑world contact with black folks. Northern whites have read about blacks and “had a black friend once,” but seldom interacted much with them.I loved New York and moved there in 1967 to teach grad school in Greenwich Village and later establish a computer career in engineering, sales and marketing.

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