South Rome Chronicles- Q-Stick

Growing up grades Kindergarten through sixth, downtown Rome did not mean as much to me. We were living in a rural area and passing through downtown was not necessary for us. However, when we moved to South Rome Broad Street was the key to the world. There was Paradise records and tapes, H.Richards, Panacea beauty supply, Krystal’s, Schroeders, Top Hat, Kessler’s, and some store that had Sebagos in the window.
Unfortunately, for every good memory there is a bad memory. Although Q-Stick was primarily a pool hall, we went there for the video games. That is where I became well versed in the game of Galaga, Centipede, NBA Jams, and Street Fighter. It was extremely smokey all of the time because there were no real smoking restrictions.
Q-Stick was a forced feed for all that visited. I would monitor the vehicles outside to see what type of crowd we were working with. There were occasionally big trucks with Confederate flags either on the plate or a flag flying on the back. I often thought about where I would go if there was some type of confrontation. The easiest and fastest way back to South Rome involved crossing a bridge with a river flowing under it. Needless to say whenever I got close to it I would steer clear of the sides and walk briskly.
One night I left Q-Stick rather late and on foot. There were probably three or four of my friends, all African-American, walking back to South Rome from Q-Stick. We walked out of the back of Q-Stick because we didn’t like trying to cross at a certain spot in downtown. Out of nowhere comes this big Chevy truck steaming down the street. The next minute we were being called niggers. We started running and I think the running is what made them turn around to chase us. I remember hiding behind buildings in terror. I remember thinking if I could just get across that bridge I would be safe. I could hear the laughter coming from the truck and could not seem to comprehend the type of anger that was on display at the time.
Before now I didn’t talk to people about this incident or use events like this to fuel any hatred. A ten minute walk from my house turned into a night of terror for me. Now take this story and add anxiety to the terror and imagine carrying all of the unanswered questions for at least 28 years.

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