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Vestiges of Segregation Removed

September 12, 2003|From Associated Press

PAMPA, Texas — A restoration project at a county courthouse caused a furor when faded lettering on doors that once led to blacks-only restrooms was repainted to say "Colored Men" and "Colored Women."

"We don't need to be reminded what was done before," said Bea Taylor, who is black. "We haven't forgotten."

County officials agreed and had the lettering removed Thursday from the two doors in the Gray County Courthouse in Pampa, in the Texas Panhandle.

"I can't speak for the other commissioners, but since the general feeling was people were offended, we decided to change it," said Gerald Wright, a county commissioner.

When Taylor and other Pampa residents, some of them white, first complained about the doors months ago, officials said they believed they needed permission from the Texas Historical Commission to remove the lettering.

The commission, which had given the county $3.8 million toward the restoration, agreed Thursday that the vestiges of segregation should be removed.

"We're pleased. We certainly feel that the right thing was done," said Alfonso Vaughn, president of the chapter of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People in Amarillo, about 50 miles southwest of Pampa. "We appreciate that they had a thoughtful re-looking at what was done and saw that it was offensive to people of color."

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