The Desegregated Heart: A Virginian's Stand in Time of Transition

The Desegregated Heart: A Virginian's Stand in Time of Transition

The Desegregated Heart: A Virginian's Stand in Time of Transition

The Desegregated Heart: A Virginian's Stand in Time of Transition

Excerpt

I WAS BORN INTO A SOCIETY WHICH IN MOST PLACES OUTSIDE the South is smilingly and in quotes referred to as the "Southern aristocracy." Within the South, however, the quotes are almost everywhere absent and the smile, if present, is one of tender, sometimes reverent pride. We believe that our aristocracy is second to none in its inbred knowledge of gracious living, its high purpose in human relations, and its awareness of the true values which lend worth, lovability, and dignity to man. On such an assumption was I reared.

I was taught that my father was a great man. In one. larger and one smaller sense I think he was. The larger is summarized in the first sentence of a resolution adopted by the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, October 1940, following the announcement of his retirement: "Robert Williams Patton, Doctor of Divinity; son of Virginia, citizen of the world; priest of God, servant of man."

Besides this, in his own small world of the Church he certainly was one of the tall figures of his day. The resolution listed an array of achievements in the national Church. More important to this story is the fact that he instilled in me a conviction that the only thing which really matters . . .

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