Over the weekend I had the opportunity to see the movie Selma. It brought back many memories. I remember as a Greek Orthodox kid watching on TV ( black and white ) as Archbishop Iakovos marched arm in arm with Martin Luther King. However, I had become aware of civil rights and discrimination many years earlier.
In 1959 we lived in Wichita Kansas. At the time my dad had become manager of the F.W. Woolworth store. Those that remember back then know that Woolworth was known for its lunch counters. At this particular store there was a sign on the lunch counter that stated ” We do not serve Colored People”. The first thing my dad did when he took over as manager was to take down that sign and tell the people working there that everyone , as long as they could pay ( being Greek this was the bottom line ), were to be served.
Within a week the district manager paid a visit to the store and my dad. He told my dad that it would cause to many problems and that there had already been complaints with this new policy. My dad then proceeded to tell this individual that as long as he was store manager “Colored folks” would be served at his lunch counter. Well, one week later the Kelaidis family found themselves moving to Colorado. My dad was assigned to a Woolworth store in Denver where his “ideology” would be more acceptable. We have lived here ever since. Go ahead ask us how much we miss Kansas.