TBB Next Steps & Deleted Material

The TBB manuscript was officially completed at 10:10 a.m., Friday, 13 April 2018. Followed by a celebratory dinner . . . . 

Next steps: Format manuscript for publishing, receive a review copy, make any final changes not caught in formatting or additions. Resubmit. PUBLISH. Timetable. Uh, when it’s done?  Timetable_Waldorf & Statler_15Apr18

In the meantime, here are some of the materials which have been edited out . . . . 

 From Chapter 04, Too Many Cooks. Dallas Cowboy star running back Don Perkins is known in Waterloo as the first black student to attend West High in the mid-1950s, although he lived on the East Side. It was and is generally perceived the BOE allowed this because of his athletic ability. He was elected student council president his senior year. The long-time perception has been and is his election was because he was a star athlete at West.

None of these perceptions are based in fact.

The fourth of eight children, Perkins’ family lived in the Riverview subdivision at the end of Mitchell Street on the West Side, adjacent to the Mitchell sand pits. It was a mixed neighborhood of mostly poor whites and a few black families. People don’t remember or know he attended elementary and junior high school on the West Side, as well. When his mother died, Perkins was a sophomore at West. His father moved the family to the East Side, but petitioned the school district and Perkins was allowed to complete high school at West.

His three older siblings, among other blacks, had attended West Side elementary and junior high schools and West High school before him.

A good student and active in the school, Perkins was elected vice president of the student government as a junior, before his athletic reputation had been fully established in his final year at West.

Perkins earned eight letters at West, four each in football and track as a sprinter. Playing both halfback and on defense, the team went undefeated his senior year, ending with a 20-12 win over East; Perkins was named to the Big Six Conference and Iowa state first teams. He was track team captain by the time he was a junior.

He set 12 records as a three-year halfback starter at the University of New Mexico and returned kickoffs. where he where he was a three-time All-Skyline conference player from 1957–1959 Skyline Sophomore of the Year in 1957. In 1958, he led the nation in kickoff returns. His number 43 was the first one retired in UNM history when he completed his pro career.

The Dallas Cowboys, which had been admitted to the NFL too late to participate in the 1960 draft, signed Perkins to a personal services contract as part of the franchise’s first team, which included Tom Landry, Tex Schramm, Gil Brandt, Dan Reeves and Pettis Norman. He missed the Cowboys’ inaugural season with a broken foot suffered in a practice, but was rookie of the year and named to the Pro Bowl. The first Dallas Cowboy to rush for 100 yards in a game with 17 carries against the Minnesota Vikings for 108 yards, Perkins was the Cowboys’ top rusher six of his eight seasons and led them in touchdowns in four of them. He was selected to six Pro Bowls and was All-Pro once.

In 1968, Perkins was involved in getting the Cowboys to abandon the practice of segregating players when traveling to hotels.

Perkins retired at age 31 at the start of the 1969 season, the 5th all-time leading NFL rusher at the time. Also known for his blocking ability, he’s third on the Cowboys’ career rushing list behind Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett. He’s also one of 20 members of the team’s Ring of Honor along with Landry and Schramm, who are also members of the NFL Hal of Fame. PHOTO: Don Perkins. 1975 Sports Hall of Fame Inductee. New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved from http://nmshof.com/don-perkins/.

Replaced with — Dallas Cowboy star running back Don Perkins is known in Waterloo as the first black student to attend West High in the mid-1950s, although he lived on the East Side. It was and is generally perceived the BOE allowed this because of his athletic ability. He was elected student council president his senior year. The long-time story was and is he was elected because he was a star athlete at West.

None of these perceptions are based in fact. His three older siblings, among other blacks, had attended West Side elementary and junior high schools and West High school before him.

A good student and active in the school, Perkins was elected vice president of the student government as a junior, before his athletic reputation had been fully established in his final year at West.

The Perkins story is relevant, because of the perception there were no black students in the West Side public elementary, junior high and high schools until the 1970s, and he broke the barrier.

From Chapter 09 Post-Storm Surge: Athletes were Elites. Sports is a stronger theme in ERA 3 as desegregation broke up the long-standing championship junior high and high school teams.

Going into my senior season, you talk about the pressure of playing football. You either thrive on it or you run away from it. We’re playing football every week. Four games in September, four games in October. There’s this Des Moines Dowling team which is really good. They started No. 1 and East started No. 2 [in the polls for the mythical state championship.] And we’re chasing them every week. One week, they barely beat somebody and we beat somebody pretty good, so we got vaulted to No. 1. So, now every week, you not only need to win but you needed to win big or you might drop out of No. 1. And at the end of the season if they you’re not voted No. 1, there was nothing you could do about it even if you were undefeated. So, there was pressure to win to keep the streak alive and to winning big. [EHS 71 WM]

The Trojans had been undefeated since 1962, eight seasons.

[Continued] As the season went on, West had a really good season. As they continued to win, we continued to win. People began to look at the end of the season and said, “What if East and West ended up undefeated at the end of season and East was still No. 1?” West started creeping up in the polls. At the end of the season we were both 8-0. It was the first time in the history of the 57-game rivalry both teams were undefeated and untied when they played each other in the traditional last game of the season. We were No. 1 and they were No. 3. And basically, the winner would be the mythical state champs. West was 17-1-1 over two years; their only loss was to East. And we’re going in to play these guys.

It was called “. . . one of, if not the biggest high school football game ever played in this state. . . .” by the Waterloo Daily Courier. The game was sold out a half an hour after the 7,500 tickets went on sale [by landline in the days without online sales or cell phones], including roughly 2,900 general admission. East sold its 750 reserved $2 seats in half an hour while West reported its 700 tickets were sold in 10 minutes.

The BOE voted to keep the game at Sloane Wallace Stadium where the two teams both played their home games rather than move it to Latham Stadium at UNI which had more permanent and bleachers seats, with room to add temporary bleachers.

With a nod to the disturbance at the East game in 1968 against St. Joseph’s Academy of Westchester, IL, which resulted in a permanent change to day games for East High, the school board explained, “. . . the players, students, faculty and parents have demonstrated the spirit which is the basis for an excellent athletic program . . . . [which] was a major consideration. . . .” The board also authorized 12 additional lights for the field for the game.

(Continued) The game had built to the point there were over 10,000 people there and KWWL televised its first ever high school football game. The Columbus-Cedar Falls game which normally was played the same night was moved to Thursday to get it out of the way. So, those fans could either come and watch our game or see it I live on TV.

The game was at Sloane Wallace Stadium. We leave East and get on one-way East 5th Street and go straight down over there on the buses. The crowd and everything was unbelievable.

We had 47 straight wins and we wanted to keep it going with our fifth straight state title. To lose to crosstown rival West would just have been unbelievable. When I was in college, we might lose a conference game and come back on campus and be in the dorm and we hear about it a little bit there. When you’re in high school and you come back and you’ve lost, you hear about it. I’d have to go back to the same high school and listen to everybody in the class back and forth.

The pressure permeated to other people. For example, my mom worked at a store downtown. Her co-workers knew her kid played at East and their kids played at West. And the jawing would go back and forth a little bit. My dad worked at Deere’s and had a lot of Deere workers going back and forth with him. So, now you’re responsible for your mom and dad having to deal with it if you lost. Thank God we won, 20-9.

There were no blacks that went to West at that time, so as a white player, I played against other white players. I had the biggest chip on my shoulders to beat them because of their arrogance and what they thought they were at the time. Everyone was happy to win, but the release was the big thing. I told the juniors, “Good luck next year, man. It’s now on you.” [EHS 71 WM]

Thanks again for being a follower, providing updates and insights, keeping in touch, encouraging. I’ll keep you up to date on publishing and launch in Waterloo . . . . I hope the week exceeds all of your expectations. . . .  We’re under a tornado watch here in paradise until 6 p.m. . . . . 

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Share Your High School Photos

Spring has sprung, the grass has riz, hope you know where your photos iz . . . 

Spring has traditionally been synonymous with cleaning out, so here’s an opportunity to locate and dive into the photo albums, shoe boxes, grocery bags or storage containers from high school.

If you’d be willing to share high school photos, I’d like to include them in the book with “Contributed by Roseanne Rosanna Danna, E/C/C/O/W High 1973” as the tag. Not using the head & shoulders class shots, but looking for shots of high school events, activities participated in or attended, from sports to drama to variety shows to hallways, dances, with a friend or more. Given The Bridge Between theme, photos of biracial interaction would be especially appropriate. I’m thinking of photos I’ve seen from all five schools’ yearbooks of athletes, cheerleaders, band members, student government leaders et al. interacting with people from other schools. I will be thankful for and humbled by your participation in this project.

To facilitate the collection and review of the photos, please email *.jpg/jpeg, *.png, *.gif or other generic photo files to drnickdebonis@gmail. com.

Gmail has been configured to automatically sort your emails so that I don’t miss any in the 100 or so emails I receive a day.


I’ll send a quick reply that it has/they have been received. If any are used, I’ll also let you know. The only editing which would be done would be to crop, lighten or sharpen the photo. No photoshopping will be done.The editor says that you need to know submitting a photo means giving permission for me to include it in the book, which will be sold, and that I’ll also send you a photo release if selected.

Looking forward to completing the manuscript and publishing TBB.

Here’s the latest chapter lineup; I don’t anticipate any changes, but until it comes off the press . . . .

  • TBB Preface (written by the author) or Foreword (written by someone other than the author)
  • TBB 1 The Bridge Between (the set-up)
  • TBB 2 The Cedar River: As Wide as the Pacific (the river was a boundary)
  • TBB 3 Guess Who’s Coming to Class (learning about race/ethnicity, bias and prejudice)
  • TBB 4 Triumvirate: Community, City Administration & the BOE (was tentatively entitled “The Unholy 3;” still working on something less erudite and more in keeping with the other chapter titles)
  • TBB 5 High School in Waterloo Was Black & White (the data and HS profiles)
  • TBB 6 ERA 1: Fall of 1963 to graduation 1966 — Calm Before the Perfect Storm (very little activism during this part of the TBB decade)
  • TBB 7 ERA 2: Fall of 1966 to graduation 1970 — The Perfect Storm Takes Shape (activism stirs and explodes during this era)
  • TBB 8 1968: The Perfect Storm Batters Waterloo (“OOh, what a night, mid September, back in ’68. What a very special date, As I remember the summer of hate. . .” Working on a rewrite of Franki Valli’s December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night),  released in December 1975)
  • TBB 9 ERA 3: Fall of 1970 to graduation 1973 — The Post-Storm Surge (attempts to find and implement an acceptable integration strategy in a social and political environment which didn’t want it)
  • TBB 10 Racial Lessons Learned & Impact on Graduates’ Lives (this is more of a synopsis than a title, but I haven’t started the final rewrite of the manuscript yet.

Stay tuned. Meanwhile . . . .

Spring has sprung, weather’s a peach. Definitely time to take a break on the beach . . . . 

Weather forecast 16Mar18.jpg

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Manuscript Draft Completed

The Bridge Between manuscript draft was completed yesterday morning. 05 February 2016, and sent to my four incredibly gracious, volunteer, experienced and candid editors for their feedback before I polish the final manuscript. I’m cautiously optimistic about a Waterloo launch before the end of the current Waterloo school year. I’ll be working on chasing some missing information, the launch and the publishing until all the feedback has been received.

TBB Participant Data by HS_06Feb18

This was the breakdown of the participant pool in December. There have been a few additional conversations since. Not unexpectedly, East and white females were the most represented. I’m going to be contacting some more Orange and Columbus graduates the rest of this week and the next.  And black graduates. If you know or someone else you know is in any of these categories and haven’t/hasn’t participated and would like to do so, let me know. The conversation usually takes about 45 minutes at your convenience. Send me an email at drnickdebonis@gmail.com and we’ll schedule a time.TBB Participant Data by Gender & Race_06Feb18

After next week, it won’t be possible to make additions to the books.

This was a project which couldn’t have been completed by the Waterloo 1963-1973 (give or take) high school graduates community.To all of you who are in a true sense co-authors, with humble gratitude, THANK YOU !!!

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The Bridge Between 2018

Happy New Year’s Day. I hope that your Christmas, Kwanza and Chanukah were more than you wanted them to be, and that 2018 exceeds all of your expectations.

My #1 expectation is to complete and launch The Bridge Between (TBB). The drafts of all of the chapters are nearly complete — only two are left — Era 3 which covers the graduating classes from 1970 to 1973, and the Epilogue, which I won’t write until the final chapter drafts are completed.

Some of the chapters you saw in earlier Tables of Content have been subdivided into smaller ones which stand alone in telling the TBB story. For example, TBB Era 2 — graduates from 1968 to 1970 — has morphed into two chapters. The first covers the three Era 2 school years gerenally, and the second is dedicated entirely to the 1968 school year — the riots in Waterloo, East High walkouts, protests and closures, and the various investigations into that the causes of what is arguably the most turbulent era in the town’s history.

Additional graphics have been added. This one shows the WCSD schools in 1963-1972, color-coded to indicate whether they’re East or West Side facilities, if they were added after the three-district merger in 1963 or built after 1969.

1972 WCSD Schools Maps_ICONS_PNG

One of the self-discoveries I’ve made while writing, among others, is the number of elementary schools I never knew existed in town. It struck me that there were Logan Junior classmates who came from those schools, but that wasn’t something of which I was aware. Similarly at East, I knew which kids were from Logan and McKinstry, but had no clue as to which elementary school they may have attended. That educational pathway pedigree wasn’t something which was as relevant to us as our social standing and whether or not we were in a relationship.

Susan wants a completion date, as do others, as do I. I have a fourth project target date in mind, but know from writing past books and papers that — absent an absolute publication deadline — the writing is over when the story is complete. With the “life is what happens” interruptions, writing time has been sporadic. 6-8:30 am, late evening, and any other time I can scrounge during the day.

Thank you again for your continued interest and I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the Waterloo book launch sometime in 2018 . . . .

Jekyll, 10 June 2017, Nick and Susan, #01

And, no, that’s not today. Try June. It’s 32 here today with drizzle and light snow. Thank the industrial nations there’s no such thing as global warming . . . .

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TBB Update, 29 November 2017

There were times from the 19th of October to the 20th of November that I wondered whether or not I’d be around to finish the book and I’m certain there were times when I asked in pain-induced delirium to shuffle off this mortal coil. Fortunately, the kidney infection was controlled and I’ve been successfully rehabbing the past two weeks, which includes getting back to to the litteratura interruptus.

Here’s the link to a short video update.

TBB Update 29 November 2019_Video



TBB Educational Pathways 1963-1973

The Bridge Between is a compilation of experiences, perceptions and insights those of us who graduated from one of the five Waterloo, IA,  high schools from 1963-1973, and how they affected our adult lives.

The stories which have been shared about growing up and attending school in a city segregated by a river are a microcosm of what was happening in American as the civil rights movement came of age and changes were taking hold.

In order for people who don’t know Waterloo, there are three visual aids which show the elementary and junior high schools which fed into the high schools and their locations in the town. Changes, and which one or ones are used and where are all dependent on three things: 1) my decision about where each would be most effective for the reader; 2) feedback from my editors; 3) your feedback as readers, some of whom lived these stories.

Here are the two major aids. I’d appreciate any and all feedback about their effectiveness in explaining the educational pathways in the school system. There is explanatory information for each in the chapter text. I” provide background information in this blog so you’re familiar with the context as you evaluate and provide feedback.

Educational Pathways SPREADSHEET_05Oct17 PNG

This is the master spreadsheet, which provided the basis for the visual aids, but which probably won’t be used unless it’s in an appendix. With the 1964 consolidation of the Waterloo, East Waterloo Township and Orange Consolidated systems, and then the closing of Orange High and the opening of Central in 1972, the last year of the TBB decade, it’s a little tricky to make sure that the school pathways are correct. The biggest challenge has been nailing dates and pathways down, especially for the Orange schools.

You may have seen some of my questions on the Facebook group, The Bridge Between.

Educational Pathways GRAPHIC_05Oct17 PNG

This is probably the easiest graphic to understand. It provides the reader a context when reading someone’s memories about one of the elementary or junior high schools (in the day) s/he attended.

The book is about high school, but our high school lives were influenced by the elementary and junior high schools we attended. Especially in terms of which ones were 99% black and which were white. Those data are explained elsewhere.

Educational Pathways MAP_05Oct17 PNG

This is the most complicated, but arguably the most important, of the visual aids. And it will be the most difficult to reproduce in the book.

It clearly shows the separation created by the Cedar River and, as the percentage of black student data for the different schools are presented, it will support an understanding of where the perception that you couldn’t have attended East High if you were white. And, yes, that was a perception shared by a number of the people with whom I’ve had the great good fortune to talk.

The key is a challenge. Is it understandable?

I added arrows showing where students at each of the elementary schools went to junior high and where the junior high students went to high school. Too many arrows. I’ve backed down to arrows from the junior high feeder schools to the high schools, but am 99% sure they’ll be taken out as well. Feedback?

District maps for school boundaries during years don’t exist. I’ve been able to create maps from archival data in the state archives in Des Moines, newspaper accounts and some data the Waterloo schools admin office and the library research staff have graciously provided. But I’m not comfortable with their accuracy and there is such a thing as too much information.

The drafts of the first three chapters are done and being read by editors.

Chapter 4 1963-66 The Years of Calm Before the Storm focuses on the first of the three distinct eras from 1963-1973 which came out of the conversations.

Thanks again for your interest. And feedback. Trying to keep from getting the horse too far in front of the cart, I’m resisting projecting a publishing date, but — as most of you know — the launch will be in Waterloo . . . hopefully this year.

Be well. Live life. And have a blessed week.

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Accuracy, Accuracy, Accuracy

The attention to detail often demanded by teachers at East High in research papers, and by Joy Drennen for the Orange & Black newspaper and Ms. Black for The Trojan yearbook was an important foundation for my professional and academic lives.

That focus was vigorously reinforced my last two years in high school as a sports stinger for Russ Smith at the Waterloo Courier. Nothing more embarrassing or intimidating than having a coach, student, parent or alum calling to wonder what game I’d actually covered due to an incorrect score, name misspelled or attribution for points recorded for the wrong player. Unless it was Russ’s look when he passed the phone call off to me.

That obsession was a daily tool when I was a professional print and broadcast reporter, later editor and sports director.

“Accuracy, Accuracy, Accuracy” was the cardinal rule in academic research and writing. Any factual error invalidated the whole study and paper, especially in historical research.

As a college professor, misspelling a client name – it’s PROCTER and Gamble with an “e,” not PROCTOR and Gamble, a mistake I see occasionally even in professional business publications the Wall Street Journal — or other inaccurate information was an automatic “F.”

So, I’m obsessed in assuring that the historical context for your stories in The Bridge Between is accurate. That’s not always easy, given that many of the decision-makers from the decade of 1963-1973 who affected our school experiences and the community of Waterloo have passed. And that a lot of what I expected to be archival school district information hasn’t existed since the digital revolution came of age.

The Courier archives have been an absolute trove of information for verification of stories, names, dates and places. Although there have been occasions when a sequence of stories about a particular event haven’t always been consistent. I suspect, in the absence of bylines, that was a function of having had the story handed off without appropriate background.

In the third chapter, which sets up the East and West Side school boundaries, the data about where elementary schools went to which junior high schools and where the junior high schools went to which high school aren’t accurate. That problem doesn’t exist for the Catholic schools and Columbus; there was only one pathway.

It’s easier to define the educational pathway for the East Side schools for two reasons. One, all of the East Side schools fed into East High school. On the West Side, there was only West High school until 1972, when Central opened with kids from both sides of the Cedar River.

Two, I grew up on the East side. But even I wasn’t aware of all of the elementary schools whose students attended Logan Junior, much less McKinstry or Bunger. The West Side junior highs? Fuggedaboutit!!

I have managed to cadge together a list, but could use your help again in filling in the gaps and correcting the errors.

School Pathways Table_29Sep17

All of the East Side junior high schools fed into East High. The West Side is a little more complicated and the data are more confusing.

From what I’ve gathered, Edison Junior and West Junior high students attended West High. Hoover students attended West High until 1964, when Orange High became part of the system Hoover students were shifted there.

How accurate are these?

Another interesting by-product of being obsessed with accuracy and fact was research I did to verify the statement by several that housing discrimination included realtor ads in the Waterloo Courier which indicated “Attention Colored Buyers.”

I started in 1948, the year the Supreme Court ruled that restrictions for selling a house wasn’t illegal, but for the courts enforce such covenants was illegal.

The first ad I ran across was for Smith & Miller Realtors. The ads disappeared in 1958 and one of the last examples I pulled was another Smith & Miller ad.

The “Miller” of Smith & Miller was my maternal grandfather. I knew he was in realty; the agency also sold insurance. But I never knew that much about his business. I knew that he owned property in Waterloo, but didn’t learn until years later that a number of them were in the North End. And that my mother would take my sisters to collect rent for my grandfather’s widow, my mother’s third stepmother.

In talking with one of my 1966 classmates for the book, we discovered that his family had rented a house from my grandfather on Independence when my friend was in middle school. When my folks moved from Boston back to my mother’s hometown of Waterloo when I was 18 months old, guess what house we lived in for almost 2 years? Uh-huh. Small world.

I’m looking forward to your feedback here on the blog, at drnickdebonis@gmail.com or Nicholas DeBonis on Facebook.

Hope your fall exceeds all of your expectations, and that you and your families enjoy blessed peace, happiness and health as we head toward Christmas and the New Year.
Where has 2017 gone, Joe DiMaggio?? And do you know that Hugh Hefner is being laid to rest next to the love of your life?
From Saint Simons Island where every day is just another day in paradise.


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Chapter 6 1970-73 The Years of Reorganization in Search of a Solution

JN 25Aug17  What 10 days of compiling, writing editing and formatting roughly 8-10 hours each day starting NLT 6 am does . . . Sitting inside with a hat on and one of my favorite pipes which I haven’t lit since we got Andrew in 1989 or since smoking was ruled illegal because it’s bad for my health . . . .

But the productivity has been tiring, but invigorating. Most of the time has been spent parsing vignettes from all of the interviews, surveys, emails, The Bridge Between Facebook group responses, secondary resources, into the three middle chapters dealing with the unique segments of high school experiences we had from 1963-1973.

I’ve said before that, like a couple of you — okay, a few of you? — who’ve said you couldn’t wait to read the book, neither can I. The Table of Contents has morphed again as I began pulling on the threads of your personal experiences memories, perceptions and insights during high school, and those in your adult life. Here’s the latest draft.

Table of Contents (25 August 2017)

CHAPTERS (Working titles)

Chapter 1.       The Bridge Between [STATUS: Shared on Blog.]

SYNPOSIS: Establishes the context for The Bridge Between, especially for readers who don’t have much or any knowledge about Waterloo or Iowa. This was the “Our Town” of our day.

  1. East Side, West Side
  2. The East-West Racial Gap
  3. The East-West Socioeconomic Gap
  4. Waterloo: A Blue-Collar Town

Reflections on the Bridge/on the Theme

Chapter 2.       There Are Blacks in Iowa? [STATUS: Draft completed.]

SYNOPSIS: Explains the East-West king-of-the-hill, social and business rivalries which were endemic to Waterloo from its founding and which had an influence on the lives of those of us who graduated from one of the five Waterloo high schools from 1963-1973. The last third explains how the racial divide between East Side and West came about, and the genesis of the North End, the Black Triangle or Smokey Row on the East Side.

  1. Black Heritage in Iowa
  2. Waterloo and Minorities
  3. Black Migration to Waterloo
  4. The IC Railroad Strike of 1910
  5. The Black Triangle, aka Smokey Row or the North End
  6. Rath Packing Plant Strike in 1947 . . . . Precursor to Activism
  7. The Waterloo Playing Field Was Black & White: School Districts?

Reflections on the Bridge/on the Theme

Chapter 3.       Guess Who’s Coming to Class? [STATUS: Draft completed.]

SYNOPSIS: Our attitudes, opinions and believes about life and race were formed by the time we entered high school. This enculturation was influenced by family, church, experiences. And included how our public or private school elementary and junior high pathways also influenced us. It’s important to understand that no school district ever crossed the Cedar River. Our attitudes, opinions and beliefs were also affected by our first-hand experiences.

  1. The Enculturation of Race
  2. Recognition of Differences in People
  3. The Enculturation of Racial Attitudes
  4. First-Hand Learning Experiences
  5. Reality by the Numbers
  6. Reflections on the Theme or? Reflections on the Bridge

Chapter 4.       1963-66 The Years of Calm Before the Storm [Draft in Progress]

SYNOPSIS: Students’ experiences, perceptions and insights about life and race relations during their three years in the four high schools. (Central didn’t graduate its first class until June 193, the last year of the decade in The Bridge Between.) The common perception was that high school was a “no worries,” fun experience, although the racial gap between friends existed.

  1. High School Perceptions
  2. Racial Relationships
  3. The Racial Divide
  4. Biracial Dating — MOVE TO #5???
  5. The Socioeconomic Divide
  6. The High School Experience

Chapter 5.       1966-70 The Years of Activism & Upheaval [Draft in Progress]

SYNOPSIS: Students’ experiences, perceptions and insights about life and race relations during high school. The common perception, born out by circumstances, was that racial tension had reached the ignition point and activism to create change was the only solution. Perception & folklore vs. Fact

  1. High School Perceptions
  2. Racial Relationships
  3. The Racial Divide
  4. Biracial Dating
  5. 1966 East High Confrontation
  6. 1967 East High Walkout
  7. 1968 Waterloo Riot in the North End
  8. 1970 Wrestling Meet Mêlée
  9. The High School Experience

Racial Bias in High School

Reflections on the Bridge/on the Theme

Chapter 6.       1970-73 The Years of Reorganization in Search of a Solution [Draft in Progress]

SYNOPSIS: Students’ experiences, perceptions and insights about life and race relations during high school. The common perception, born out by school decisions and actions, and subsequent open enrollment allowed Waterloo to dodge the Department of Justice bullet for a systematic pattern of racial segregation using school district boundary lines.

  1. High School Perceptions
  2. Racial Relationships
  3. The Racial Divide
  4. Something
  5. Biracial Dating
  6. 1970 The Bridgeway Project
  7. 1970 Open Enrollment & Busing
  8. 1972 Occupation of the School Superintendent’s Office [STATUS: shared on blog 25 Aug 2017]
  9. The High School Experience

Reflections on the Bridge/on the Theme

Chapter 7.       Lessons Learned & Our Adult Lives [Draft in Progress]

SYNOPSIS: Graduates’ experiences, perceptions and insights about life and race relations after high school. In hindsight 50 years later, what are the perceptions and insights these 1963-1973 Waterloo high school graduates have on the ultimate impact of their high school experiences on their adult lives, especially their interracial relationships and their children’s’ attitudes and behavior.

  1. Life After High School
  2. Racial Relationships
  3. The Racial Divide
  4. Waterloo Through the 50-Year Looking Glass
  5. We’re Not in Iowa Any More, Toto
  6. Everything I Needed to Know About Interracial Relationships I Learned in My High School

Reflections on the Bridge/on the Theme

Chapter 8.       Epilogue [Updated as I work]

SYNOPSIS: Ladies and gentlemen: the story you have read is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the guilty. This is the town. Waterloo, IA. Some people graduated from high school there with pleasure. Some went because they had to and didn’t graduate. You never know. My name’s DeBonis. I graduated from East High in 1966. I was eight years old . . . .

  1. Perspectives: Waterloo 50 years later
  2. The Wisdom of Leon Mosely, Community Activist

Here’s a vignette from the era 1970-73 The Years of Reorganization in Search of a Solution. It’s 24 pages with 1.5 line spacing. And, no, I haven’t calculated into how many book pages that translates. That will depend on the text block on each page, which will be determined by the page size of the book, font and font size, line spacing, etc. For us centenarians, I think an 8×11 page size (think HS annual) with LARGE TYPE and only 4-5 sentences per page would be best. Of course, that will also increase the cost of the book which increases the margin which . . . .

I’d appreciate any and all honest, constructive — ok, or vicious — reactions, feedback, suggestions. I’m still tinkering with how to present all of this information so it flows logically, answers the readers’ questions, is easy to navigate (skim & scan), etc. You can post responses.

Comments can be posted here or, to make sure I see them, email me at drnickdebonis@gmail.com. And always, please feel free to share think blog with any- and everyone.

To read the excerpt, click on it, and it should open in a browser tab. If it doesn’t, try downloading it and opening. It’s a *.pdf format, so it should be accessible to all. If it doesn’t, email me and I’ll send you a link to my OneCloud.

_TBB1_6X3_BLOG EXCERPT WEST JR 1970-73 25Aug17_The Years of Reorganization

I haven’t lived on the southeast coast since I graduated from college in St. Augustine in 1973 in the last millennium, doncha know? I’d forgotten the summer monsoons, particularly in the afternoons. Great time to sit under the patio umbrella and contemplate life. The humidity also keeps my curl hair curled. Have a blessed week.And I hope it exceeds all of your expectations !!!!!!!!!!!!

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Writing Right is a Rite, Wright

There is no such thing as a good writer or writer’s block, in my mind. Even with years of practice, it’s impossible to write the perfect first draft of a news story, a speech, a magazine article, a blog post; you get the picture. (I just changed that sentence twice.) The best writers are actually better editors. Michener always talked about how he would wordsmith a sentence for hours to make sure it connected to the previous sentence and set up the next.  Once done, he didn’t go back.

Writer’s block means that someone can’t write anything. Anyone can write. (I avoided the double negative, “no one can’t write.”) Maybe not write right. My technique when feeling “blocked” is to just start writing. Do a core memory dump about everything I know about catfish farming and then go back and edit it into a centerfold story with pictures in a weekend magazine newspaper insert.

My ability to write right is based on a rite which is uniquely my own, as I told Wright. And when the rite puts you “in the write zone” and everything feels right, as it has this past two weeks, that calls for a “right on.”

During breaks in writing, which is also a right rite for a writer, Wright, I’m pulling together other background material, formatting data, locating and editing photographs and creating maps so that readers have an understanding  of  East and West Side, the black triangle and other landmarks, like the locations of the five Waterloo high schools, Sloane Wallace Stadium where the East-West football games were played during the years covered in The Bridge Between and others. I never knew until a couple of weeks ago when I was mapping the schools that the park across from Columbus was/is called Bontrager Park.

This map is the first draft of describing the location of the 1967 riot on East 4th Street. I bought a used (duh) 1962 city directory on line, and and have used it to verify the location and names of the businesses along the stretch of East 4th which suffered the most damage that week. One of those treasures which pop up occasionally was the stamped name of the directory’s original owner: A.N. Caines, ACLU, in the Black building. Mr. Caines was a member of our church and a friend of my parents. Eerie.

North End Map_Sanborn 1961_BUSINESSES The link below is to a video about the last couple of weeks and some trivia from 1963 when The Bridge Between story begins; 1968, which is in the middle of the decade; and 1973, which is the 10th year. Click on the link and YouTube should open in a separate tab.

LINK:   The Bridge Between Update 20 July 2017

Feedback — good or constructive criticism (is there such a thing as “neutral” feedback?) — is always welcome, here, at my email drnickdebonis@gmail.com or on Facebook, either in The Bridge Between page or as a message.

I hope life continues to bless you.

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What Keeps Me Awake at Night

There are a couple of pieces of information in The Bridge Between which keep me awake at night, because they’ll largely determine whether the book is fiction or non-fiction. OK, I was told a gabazillion times not to exaggerate. These are important data and I’m running them to ground in between the writing.

  1. Smokey’s Row, the Black Triangle, the North End. Among those of you who have said you knew any or all of these names, there’s a wide variation in the name of the area in Waterloo where blacks lived in Waterloo before, during and after the 1963-73 decade and, more importantly, the boundaries which define its size. Secondary resources ranging from the state archives to official reports and research papers about the origin of the black community to newspaper accounts also have a disparity of information about both. After cadging all of the data together, here’s the map which is currently in the draft of Chapter 2 There are Blacks in Iowa? As always, any constructive feedback or criticism is appreciated . . . and the best place to make sure I see it is to me reply to the email from drnickdebonis@gmail.com which has this blog’s link in it.

Smokey Row_North End_11Jul17.png

2. The second major unverified “fact” in dispute is whether the Waterloo school board from 1963-1973 was elected by district or at-large. And if there were districts, where were they and did they change during that 10 years? This is relevant to establishing an important context for Chapter 5 The Years of Activism (1967-70) and Chapter 6 The Years of Discord (1970-73). I’ve been bugging the school district, which has been responsive to a fault, but we’re talking ancient archives in the same vein as the Dead Sea scrolls. Newspaper reports of candidates filing for the seats and the election reports themselves aren’t providing many clues. If you’re an explorer/researcher, any and all assistance is appreciated.

Finally, there have been a number of people who have come forward in the last week to participate. I’m working to get all of you . . . or “them” if you’ve already participated or decided to wait until the book comes out . . . before the end of the week. There may be some spillover into next week. But now that my wife’s business website has launched — http://www.flair-southern-style.com — it’s back to writing as long as I can sit and stay awake . . . .

Hope your week exceeds all of your expectations. And when someone asks us locally how things are going, the only honest response in, “Just another day in paradise.”

Toes in the Water Mar2017   Nick