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Police Commissioner Robert M. Copeland of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire has earned the latest Bigoted-Geezer-of-the-Week award from the national news media for his public reference to President Obama as "that fucking nigger."

Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland puts his hands up as Whitney White--who works at Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro--confronts him after the public portion of the meeting Thursday, May 15, 2014.
Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland refuses to apologize for his racist remarks
One might well think that New Hampshire, whose African-American population comprises only 1.4% of the total, is an unlikely hotbed for such bigotry. Think again. There is some African-American history and some labor history in the area which provides much needed context.

The posh summer resorts for which the area is widely known have been there for a long, long time, and they have always been in need of dutiful staff members - preferably well-mannered, clean-cut people who were easily distinguishable from the resort patrons - and who could be counted upon to leave New Hampshire at the end of the summer.

For almost a century, many of the New Hampshire resorts recruited hundreds of such staff members from historically black colleges and universities, like Hampton University in Virginia. This was a mutually beneficial arrangement; the resorts got the employees they needed, and the African-American college students got money for their tuition without having to work in southern cotton or tobacco fields.

Rockywold Deephaven Camps [RDC], 30 miles northwest of Wolfeboro, is one of the resorts that pioneered this practice as far back as the 1890s. Situated on the shores of beautiful Squam Lake, New Hampshire (where the movie On Golden Pond was filmed), RDC is rightly proud of its connection to this rich part of African-American history.

African-American resort workers in New Hampshire
African-American Summer employees at RDC, early 20th Century
The RDC experience had a profound effect on the lives of many black students. They found here people who were interested in them, who were fair in their dealings, and who appreciated what they had to offer. ... Once when parting, a [white] guest said good-bye in Latin. In the car on the way to town the [other white] guests could not understand what he had said. The [African-American] driver of the car translated for them.
My parents, two African-Americans who both grew up in central Virginia (and who have been married for almost 50 years now), first met each other at RDC. They were summer resort workers there in the early 1960s. Both of them had gotten jobs there through their direct or indirect connections with Hampton University.
The summer staff was all black until the early sixties. Following the Brown vs. school board case and the integration of public elementary and secondary schools across America, the management of the Camps became increasingly uncomfortable with the image of a totally black work force and a totally white guest clientele. The time had come for change.
Change, of course, did come. That is why the staff at the same resort now looks like this:
RDC Staff, 2013
Usually, absence makes the heart grow fonder... but not always. Although Commissioner Copeland now claims to have worked with black people for many years, he certainly does not seem to have learned anything useful.

In Copeland's enfeebled mind, any African-Americans who do not fit the mold of Rastus from the Cream of Wheat box must already seem guilty of being uppity; all that is required for any of us to make the leap from being uppity to being a "fucking nigger" is to say or do anything objectionable to the God-fearing white patriots who thought that they had successfully driven the dusky horde from their midst when they stopped hiring African-American college students 40 years ago.

Just imagine the shock of having one's halcyon memories of the subservient - and conveniently absent - Negroes of yesteryear interrupted by hourly updates on the activities of an unapologetically black Democratic President of the United States. Why, you can't even turn on the television set or the computer without seeing and hearing about him! Oh, the horror of it all! Surely there is a duty to speak out against such a situation....

Thus, the town of Wolfeboro finds itself freshly Niggerized - not because of the presence of African-Americans, but because in our absence, it has devolved into the kind of place where a moronic Police Commissioner can proudly and publicly express such language and such views and still expect to remain in office - and to be defended by his fellow public officials.

Would that it were not so.

Rastus stands behind Uncle Sam
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