To the Editor:
Regarding the article on racial justice in the Feb. 4 issue, few people may be aware that the “Citizen 2nd Second” survey (page 9) actually celebrates a small section of society: recreation.
“Public recreation facilities — city parks, playgrounds, swimming pools and golf courses — and the Civic Youth Center, are open to all regardless of race, and the Davenport Negro can attend all local athletic events and local theaters without restraint.”
In 2011, two years after the death of Davenport’s great civil rights leader Charles Toney, a civil rights marker with several misleading statements was placed at the site of the old Natatorium. Some people, including Bill Wundram in a Quad-City Times column dated 10-6-16, have suggested that this marker tarnishes the memory of Toney and ought to be corrected.
Toney’s landmark desegregation efforts began in 1943, well ahead of the 1960s as suggested on this marker. Toney was an accomplished swimmer from Clinton. His activism for recreation was certainly well ahead of this 1951 civil rights survey.
Perhaps now, during the celebration of Black History Month, might be an excellent time to make corrections to this important civil rights sign in honor of Toney.