Thanks for truth about Buddy

Many thanks to my friend Rey Barry for the little-known history of the times Buddy Glover served occasional black customers before the 1963 sit-in at his popular restaurant. [Mail April 14: "Buddy's no bastion of segregation" I hope Glover was able to read that tribute to him before he died, a few days after it was published.

And kudos to Rey for searching out places where visiting black musicians and others could eat in tightly segregated Charlottesville.

At the time of the sit-in, we (or at least I) did not know of this history. I heard parts of it in subsequent years.

During the sit-in, the editor of the Daily Progress scolded us for singling out Buddy's Restaurant. Glover, he said, was one of Charlottesville's best citizens.

That, of course, was our point: if the best citizens refused to make their places of business open to black citizens (as a matter of policy, not choice) then we were surely in deep trouble.

As Barry says, Glover closed his restaurant as a matter of principle immediately after the passage of the 1964 law that made it illegal for public accommodations like restaurants to refuse customers on the basis of race.

The argument that businessmen had the right to make their own decisions about whom to serve was specifically rejected. Sit-ins like ours were instrumental in the crafting and passage of that law.

Finally, I understand why Barry would write that Glover's restaurant became the "scapegoat" for segregation, but I would prefer the words "focal point." In any case, history is well served by his letter.

Paul Gaston

The author, a UVA history professor, was profiled March 31 [The Hot Seat: "Civil disobedient: Gaston's history lesson"], a story that mentioned that he was arrested and battered during a 1963 sit-in at Buddy's. – editor