Young people have to understand that African American history is not confined to the pages of history but is a living, vibrant thing,” Lautenberg told an audience gathered at the Paul Robeson Gallery on the campus of Rutgers University. A Paterson native, Lautenberg recalled attending school with many African-Americans, includingLarry Doby, who broke the color line in professional baseball’s American League. Lautenberg also recalled the first time he encountered Jim Crow laws, during a visit to Atlantic City with his mother and grandmother when he was about 10 years old. The young Lautenberg was shocked to see signs over water fountains reading “Whites Only” and African Americans being forced to take the rear seats on buses. “It stuck with me. I couldn’t believe it, right in Atlantic City,” Lautenberg said, adding that there was a “great deal of shame attached to that period.”
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