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Fight for civil rights played out along U.S. 40 in Maryland
Fight for civil rights played out along U.S. 40 in Maryland

Tucked inside the files at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston are State Department notes from the 1960s detailing racial discrimination along U.S. 40 in Maryland — and warning the president of its implications for the Cold War. One account describes the experience of an African diplomat who couldn't find a restaurant to serve a glass of water for his son as the boy struggled to catch his breath during an asthma attack. Another tells of a diplomat who drove 10 bleary-eyed hours along the highway — then the main thoroughfare between New York and Washington — because motels in Maryland wouldn't rent him a room for the night. Segregation meant...

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