how torture works: a view from 1960s u.s. south

When I read about the increasing acceptance of waterboarding as a form of torture, I vividly recall how in 1968 members of the Memphis Police Department believed I could tell them information about civil rights insurgents arriving to create havoc. Forty years later I still hide my serrated scars.

I was 14 years old and forgot I was a black boy living in racist America and heading for the devil's den of discrimination. Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" stimulated my raging hormones for truth, justice and the American way. Like the main character in his book, I stuck out my thumb for a ride from my home in Wisconsin. I was so excited when someone pulled over for me that I went in the wrong direction. After hitchhiking the rest of the way from Milwaukee to Memphis, Tenn., with no trouble, I put out my thumb for the last ride to my grandfather's place. I was sure he could take me to demonstrate alongside Martin Luther King Jr. to support his recently announced policy on poverty and Southeast Asia.

"Boy, where you from?" asked the toothpick-sucking officer in the passenger seat as his partner walked around the car to me.

Read this moving story here.

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