“One day he asks me, ‘Did you choose white milk or chocolate milk today?’” Mr. Mosley said. “Man, we didn’t have a choice. We didn’t have chocolate milk. I didn’t even know what a spit wad was because we never got straws.”
Chattooga County integrated its schools in 1966, when the boys were in seventh grade. In interviews, the men talked about how unfair segregation was, but their perspectives on the past are profoundly different.
Both recalled joining the adults as they baled hay for Mr. Scoggins’s father, and breaking for midday dinner. The Black workers ate outdoors. The white workers went into the house.
“My mama would call them to come in the house, but they said, ‘No, ma’am,’ and stayed out by that wall there,” Mr. Scoggins said. “They were humble.”
To Mr. Mosley, eating outside wasn’t about humility. “We did what we did because that’s what you did,” he said. “That was a sign of the times.”
For decades, he taught in public schools and prisons. At 67, he is a preacher, and lives with his wife, Betty, on 50 acres near Ms. Marshall’s farm.
On a summer day in 2019, Ms. Marshall sat in their yard and told them she wanted to start sharing the whole, hard story of Dirt Town Valley, and make some kind of amends. She asked if she was on the right path.