Thursday, July 19, 2012
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.