QC native reminisces about racial inequality felt in Rock Island neighborhood

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Pastor Melvin Grimes remembers being a little boy growing up in a Rock Island home on 12th Street and 9th Avenue. Grimes says back then, you could tell a person's race by where their house stood.

"If you lived below the hill, you were nothing. If you lived above the hill, that was the cream of the crop. And certainly no one at that time was going to allow blacks to buy any property beyond 18th Avenue and up the hill," remembers Grimes.

But things changed, Grimes says largely because of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Monday people all over the country will celebrate Dr. King's life, which he dedicated to achieving racial equality. And while Dr. King helped make significant progress through the Civil Rights Movement, Grimes says there's still a lot to be done today.

"Racism is still alive and well," says Grimes.

He says racism looks different than it did back in the 1960's,

"It comes with a smile and a handshake," says Grimes.

But it shows itself through under represented decision making.

And hopefully with the efforts of one united Quad Cities community, Pastor Grimes says progress is a possibility.

"Racism is never going to go away. But we can put it in its place," says Grimes.

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