It was good to be white then.
American soldiers, sailors, and airmen stationed in Europe had recently come home from crushing the German regime that had threatened to end free civilization and usher in a thousand-year oligarchy. Two American atomic bombs had landed on populous Japanese cities, erupting in a fury that shocked even their designers. More
White faces came home with a swaggering triumph that belied the utter relief of simply surviving mankind’s most savage and destructive conflict ever. Bands played for them, parades honored them, and a grateful nation could not stop grinning and laughing with them. White faces found mates, jobs, God, and money. Life was good.
Black faces, which had faced the same dangers, had fought the same battles, had cheered, screamed, bled, died, and sacrificed just as much as their fellow American fighters with white faces, came back to a very different welcome. Black faces came back to a devil just as evil as Hitler, just as inscrutable as Hirohito, and just as arrogant as Mussolini. His name was Segregation, and he ruled with an iron hand.
Such was the state of the world in Louisiana when Alabama Denton arrived in New Orleans.