Interview with Tracy Amalfitano
QUESTION 10
JACKIE SHEARER:

So, i must have been hard for you during this period.

TRACY AMALFITANO:

It was quite hard, ah, I was basically back in school. I had decided to go back to college after a number of years and finish up my degree and my entire life turned around at that point in time, ah, because, ah, my whole schedule like, ah, revolved around, ah, walking both my children to school but especially the, ah, older one to catch the bus every morning for Columbia Point and I also met him every afternoon. ah, it was very difficult for us. Our whole lives basically, ah, became topsy-turvy and everything revolved around making sure that the children were in school because we believed that they should be in school. But also making sure that, ah, their safety was assured. I was concerned, in my own community, if, if my kids would be safe. Ah, the community basically, ah, was talking about kids not being safe going into the minority communities but because I went in and out every day myself, ah, I knew that they were safe there. And my concern was that they were safe when they got off, when my older son got off the bus in his own community. It was very difficult for us. It was difficult for, ah, other members in the family who didn't understand what I was doing. Ah, it became very difficult. It was almost, ah, like getting up every morning and going to war. Ah, there were, at that point in time, ah, many police in the community. There were police lines. There were a lot of groups congregating on street corners. And every day we walked through all of that to the bus stop. It was not easy for us but, on the other hand, I felt that as people had a right to boycott, that's a person's right. It also was my right to send my, my children to school. And I think I got mad as much as anything, as, as much as maybe being afraid. I said, why would anyone interfere with my right to send my kids to school. And, I guess basically, that anger also sustained me. It was, ah--a lot of isolation for a while though for us. Ah, and many days I would come home and I would think about all the liberals that got on the buses and went South when, for sit-ins and, and boycotts in the South and I really would come home and wonder, you know, where were they now. And, ah, there were, there were people out there but for a long, long time, ah, I felt very isolated and alone in, in the decision but I felt that my decision was right. ah, my, my kids also became more isolated because people that were boycotting would not, ah, allow their children to play with my children anymore. And, and that was real. But, somehow we instilled, ah, some strength in, in our kids so that, ah, they were sustained. But they also were very isolated for a long time. Ah, they did meet new friends in, in, at Columbia Point, met new people. ah, but, ah, for a long period of time it was very iso--isolating. We did not get support from political leaders. Although I know political leaders were meeting quite routinely with those that, that boycott. But for those of us, around the city, ah, that decided to support the desegregation order, it was very much a lonely place for a long time.

JACKIE SHEARER:

Great. Thank you. Cut.