Foote mentions the complex social dynamics that surrounded the town of Wharton. What are two examples of segregation and racism that he noticed as a child?

Two examples of segregation and racism that Foote noticed as a child in Wharton were his family’s history as slave owners and a doctor’s swindling local African American men out of their land rights.

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For Horton Foote —called Little Horton as a boy—growing up in Wharton, Texas meant accepting segregation as a fact of everyday life. White people and Black people lived in different parts of town and generally patronized different businesses. This pattern was so engrained that Little Horton barely registered it as...

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For Horton Foote—called Little Horton as a boy—growing up in Wharton, Texas meant accepting segregation as a fact of everyday life. White people and Black people lived in different parts of town and generally patronized different businesses. This pattern was so engrained that Little Horton barely registered it as a child. In his memoir, Foote mentions a number of occasions when the ongoing inequality based in racism did make an impact on him.

Although he had known that his ancestors owned a plantation, for a long time, he did not understand what it meant that they had been slave owners. He has an encounter with an elderly man who had been enslaved on his great-grandfather’s plantation. Confronted with a living human being who had endured slavery gave him a glimpse into the historic underpinnings of ongoing racism in his own day. He found it shocking that white people spoke lightly of slavery.

The contradictions between benevolence and exploitation that were associated with race and education also made an impression on Little Horton. An oil boom greatly increased land values, but not all the local people benefitted equally. He was distressed to learn that a doctor in town was enriching himself by taking advantage of Black farmers. The doctor bought mineral rights on their land for a low price, then turned around and leased them to the oil companies.

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