chapter  4
WALKING THE COLOR LINE
Italian Immigrants in Rural Louisiana, 1880–1910
WithVINCENZA SCARPACI
Pages 17

In his Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Ernest J. Gaines describes the relationship of Louisiana's rural Italians and African Americans during the 1960s. Miss Jane leads plantation workers to protest segregation in Bayonne, a small town near Baton Rouge, whose courthouse until only a year before had neither a drinking fountain nor an inside bathroom for "colored." Blacks had to go down to the basement and use a toilet so filthy you "couldn't get inside the door." Miss Jane remarked how most women avoided that bathroom and instead used bathrooms in "back of town" cafés.