Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lusco's Restaurant



Wow, the pot has been stirred.  Apparently, since Dateline aired Finding Booker's Place this past Sunday, Lusco's Restaurant has received threats via phone and email.  People have threatened to burn down their restaurant and the owners of Lusco's have been harassed at gas stations and at other public places.  Lusco's is the restaurant where Booker was working when he experienced the racially charged treatment that hurt him so deeply.  That was in 1965.

I am deeply saddened to hear the news that today, in 2012, the family that owns Lusco's is being harassed.  The heart of Booker Wright's message was to let people know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of racism.  His message was not meant to incite hate or violence.  Anyone who responds to my grandfather's story with more hate has clearly missed the point.  I have personally eaten at Lusco's Restaurant many, many times.  They have the best steaks in the Delta and they have always welcomed me with open arms.

I want everyone to know that when we were looking into my grandfather's life, the filmmakers and I were eager to find photos and footage of him.  The folks at Lusco's had a box full of old and precious 8 mm film that spanned decades.  They suspected that some of that film might contain a few minutes of footage of Booker Wright.  They trusted us enough to send several boxes of film to New York, where we processed it and found, out of hours and hours of footage, a few precious Booker Wright moments.  Having that additional footage, seeing my grandfather as a young man, was a gift beyond words.  That was a gift from Lusco's.

The family that owns Lusco's has supported my research with openness and kindness.

As a nation and as a people, we should revisit the hurts of the past to learn from them, not to imitate them.  Anyone who has harassed the family that owns Lusco's Restaurant today, should be ashamed.

I am Booker Wright's granddaughter and I embrace Lusco's Restaurant and so should you.

28 comments:

  1. You have my support, Yvette! Hatred always loses in the end! I enjoyed the Dateline story and have thought what it would be like to find actual footage of one of my grandparents!! I cherish the photos I have, as well as the stories I have heard. Keep up the good work!!

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  2. Thank you, Yvette!!! So much of the nation will NOT let MS be seen as anything but racist and backwards. Yes, there are still racists in MS, but for the most part, we have all moved forward. Thank you for telling those who are not ready for the change that has come that YOU and YOUR family have moved forward and see this as positive. The DELTA loves you for that!!!!

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  3. You should have said that on dateline.

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    1. Ouch. One of the challenges in all of this is that, even though I may be the subject of an interview, that doesn't mean that I have any control over what finally makes it into the final piece.

      In January of this year, Lester Holt and I sat down and talked about Booker Wright, Greenwood, family, and more. I honestly can't recall whether or not we talked about Lusco's at all. Later, without my knowledge, the Dateline folks added in statements about Lusco's in a voice over format. I heard those statemnets for the first time when the Dateine piece aired on Sunday night. I didn't defend Lusco's in my interview because I didn't know that they would need defending.

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  4. Would dateline run a follow-up to show their edited version "stired the pot" in a negative way....and Luscos in the present day is being harrassed as your grandfather was?

    it is very sad that in the present day we are speaking of this. Ironic that the same behavior your grandfather experienced is now being felt by the Pinkstons. The Pinkstons are good people. The people threatning and a harrassing them should be ashamed of themselves!

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    1. Yeah... I dont doubt the Lusco's folks are getting harrassed. I do however doubt VERY SERIOUSLY they are getting harrassed just like Booker was.

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  5. yeah but point being it brought out hate, harassment, and racism.....my point being it brought the same feelings out that I believe he did not want. By no means did I mean they were getting the same harassment, but as Yvette stated above, they are being harassed as a result of the airing of this story. The story as Yvette stated was not meant to be negative....but in my eyes the story aired (and edited by NBC) was negative and not a true depiction of the way things are now...not saying they are great but it brought negativity to something I wished had never happened but I think 2012 Greenwood is very different from 1964 Greenwood in a GOOD way. The people who live and make there homes in Greenwood I would think see things very differently now. Ignorance is an incredible sword that unfortunately IS and HAS been used to hurt the progression from a time that was not a very good representation of the South, Mississippi, and Greenwood.

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  6. Fascinating genealogical interview about the restaurant and some past times. Booker is mentioned. https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:1Zgt6AhyIIwJ:www.southernfoodways.com/documentary/oh/greenwood_restaurants/images/GW06_luscos.pdf+booker+wright&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESiiu1zo-2GLD2h45NkJZgwr2kVAqgCIN6XFdhkhRTr3XNNVpDUCNWC1rj8WkevUvFKINIF2v_6e6nHEsL6wOTlWH0u7jOSQ-49fOpQwUWvElyH2bxOTAwIq8LZ5xwueJPj3lm2T&sig=AHIEtbTnC6fFibPKaoU5hynae1NxB4MlGQ

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  7. This could be a wonderful world if it wasn't for people; it is unfortunate that cretins will always live among us. We can count those who are harassing the current owners of your grandfather's former restaurant as part of that population segment. It takes so much of ones energy to hate and be contrary. Very sad and pathetic.

    Your grandfather had an infectious smile that lit up the screen in that documentary. God bless him!

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    1. Yeah I want to reply to you her or his granddaddy fired Booker and that lady is just as predjedis as her grandad

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    2. To Anonymous on July 21, 10:00AM - I am right there with you about his smile, it radiates through time and warms my heart.

      To Anonymous July 22, 3:20PM - I'm planning to write a post about how we respond to prejudice. Obviously, I don't think it's with more hate.

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  8. As Booker says in the documentary, "The meaner the man be, the more you smile..." I can truly say that those words are a kind of motivation and inspiration for me since I am in the hospitality service industry. Thank you for posting this! I sincerely hope that all the people harassing Lusco's will read this and they should be ashamed for their harassment! Yvette, I know the Pinkston's personally and I can tell you that appreciate you and this post! They are some of the most kind hearted people in Greenwood and I can tell that you are kind hearted as well.
    For those people that do not understand Mississippi and have not had the opportunity to visit and/or live in Mississippi, a particular quote comes to mind: "To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi." - William Faulkner

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  9. what a loving tribute you have done to honor your grandfather. It is a shame that people have made threats towards Lusco where your grandfather once worked. it would be such a fantastic idea if someone in your family could open a family in memorial of your grandfather and serve some of the same items he had on his menu. again, your story is fantastic and i also enjoyed watching it.

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  10. As a young man I use to work at lusco's washing dishes.I got to admit it sucked I mean you back there all night long listening to the owners cuss each other out.It was the worst job I ever had.I only worked two days Friday and Saturday,when I would arrive to work the first thing she would tell me to sweep and clean the window I mean the woman barely said hello.The vibe of that place unbareable I was glad when she fired me.That place still looks the same way in the 60's inside and out.Let's put it this way if you are black and from out of town yeah you have no problem eating there.I can afford lusco's but I be damm if I eat there where we were not accepted back in the day.

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  11. You act surprised that an old wound was unnecessarily opened and has now caused problems for Lusco's. The people who own it now are NOT even the same people who were there in Booker's day, yet they are being threatened. That should shed some light on the mentality of the Black community in Greenwood.

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    1. I'm not "acting" surprised, I AM surprised. I had no idea that anyone would watch the Dateline segment and choose to harass the owners of Lusco's.

      As far as the harassment shedding light on the black community, I think we all may need to take a breather. Many of the people who harassed them did it on Facebook or over the phone, so let's not assume that all the harassers were black.

      The very notion that the actions of a small few can speak for a community is a cornerstone of racist thought. I would urge you to not lump all Greenwood blacks together.

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  12. Judging from your comment about your dishwasher position at Lusco's being unbearable, you obviously did not like that job or want to do that job to begin with. Also, if you were only doing the job 2 nights a week and then got fired, you must not have either wanted the job, or you weren't doing your job. Just saying!

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  13. Well this comment is for that dishwasher if you didn't like the job you should have stayed in school.I been eating at luscos for years and they don't need to change nothing.You people need to get over it hell we can't help that your own kind sold himself to the devil (the white man)so some say.Get off your a&& a get a job ain't feeling sorry for none of y'all.

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  14. Hey, Hey, let's all just take a breather. Have a good day.

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  15. For those of us who knew Booker Wright it was a loss to the community when he was killed. He was truly a professional waiter and person who could have carried his weight at Twenty One in New York or any high end resturant in New Orleans. His ambition of owing "his own place" was evidence of his providing for his family. This is certainly evident in the success of his grandaughter. We are seeing a return of those black families who left 50 years ago for the industrial cities of the north. They reclaimed their roots and are able to purchase homes with garden spots to retire in peace with family.

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  16. It was an honor to meet you last night & learn more of your grandfather. I was curious enough to MapQuest Greenwood & the Lusco's name just jumped out at me from the map & has led me here. I do a lot of gardening which results in much pensive thought. I stopped in my tracks this morning when I realized 'Booker's Place' is also a metaphor for the 'less than' segregated Southern Black man, & surprised it didn't come up in the Q&A. Greenwood was incensed to see your grandfather admitting to all the world that he knew his 'place' all too well. It was under the soles of Jim Crow's shoes. My heart weeps for the injustices that were done. God bless you. chuck jones

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    1. Chuck,
      Thank you so much for coming last night and connecting with this powerful story. I couldn't agree with you more, Booker had an assigned "place" in society and he violated that order when he stepped out of it to express his true thoughts. Your support means more to me than you will know. Hopefully, you can stay engaged as we move forward with the book project, the non-profit, and all the other things my family is doing to ensure that the world remembers the name Booker Wright.
      Yvete

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  17. Uneducated people should not write posts. Sorry Yvette, some people have to ruin everything. Such a nice story about your grandfather.

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  18. Yvette, do you know an older musician last named Robinson who may have consulted wiyh you on this story? I'm trying to track him down.

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  19. As Usual and as expected Lusco's remains and continues to thrive. Booker's Place? Not so much. This was a brilliant and ambitious man. Uninterrupted, he might have become a millionaire. With the foot of oppression on his neck, he like so many similiar and before him were never able to fully formulate their ideas'.

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  20. wow,great story,lets not put fear in holders of such knowledge,i,m sure there are more stories out there

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