Opinion: Signs of America's racial past
A sign in Jackson, Mississippi, photographed in 1961.
January 23rd, 2012
05:00 AM ET

Opinion: Signs of America's racial past

Editor's note: CNN Contributor Bob Greene is a bestselling author whose books include "Late Edition: A Love Story" and "Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen."

By Bob Greene, CNN Contributor

(CNN) - The good news is that news of the sign was shocking.

Because there was a time, not so very long ago - a time remembered vividly by many living Americans - when the sign would not have raised eyebrows, much less warranted national headlines.
You may have seen the story earlier this month. The Ohio Civil Rights Commission upheld a ruling that a landlord in Cincinnati who had posted a "White Only" sign on the gate to her swimming pool had violated the Ohio Civil Rights Act. The landlord, Jamie Hein, who is white, said the sign was an antique, intended to be a decoration; one of her tenants, Michael Gunn, filed the complaint because he believed the sign was placed to dissuade his daughter, who is African-American, from using the pool.

Each side has its own version of the story. But it received widespread coverage because the idea of such a sign, in 2012, was so startling, and was so abhorrent to many people.

Read Bob Greene's full column

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