Miriam Zinter is a banker, stand-up comedian, and mother of two. She lives in Brighton, New York, and she is a black woman who looks white. On September 9, before she left for Sunday morning mass, she sat down and wrote a Twitter thread about her father. But she never could have expected what came next.
Miriam's thread was devoted to talking about her dad.
It tells the story of how her dad joined the Navy, one pivotal experience he had on board, and what life was like for him after.
Check it out.
This is a thread about how institutional racism works. In the 1950’s SUNY schools & community colleges offered FRE… https://t.co/fR2kVdXppP— MimZWay (@MimZWay)1536502860.0
When my father graduated from high school, he was not told of the opportunity for free tuition because black studen… https://t.co/0p8KBz0RCg— MimZWay (@MimZWay)1536502863.0
My father always had a talent for repairing electrical appliances. Radios, televisions, refrigerators - anything th… https://t.co/nKSti61zQs— MimZWay (@MimZWay)1536502864.0
At the recruitment center, he was told the Navy had an Electrical Engineering program and he would be recommended f… https://t.co/t714Vo78UW— MimZWay (@MimZWay)1536502865.0
When he got on board the ship, he was given three job options: cook, janitor or barnacle scraper. Imagine his disa… https://t.co/1BAZ65btJ5— MimZWay (@MimZWay)1536502865.0
On board the ship, my father earned a reputation for being able to fix anything. Whenever a radio was broken, they… https://t.co/3J7msvrBHs— MimZWay (@MimZWay)1536502866.0
Then one day the radar to the ship went down. It was down for three days. No one could figure out what was wrong wi… https://t.co/vKbLQMEmK3— MimZWay (@MimZWay)1536502866.0
My dad figured a fuse must have blown. The area where the fuses were located was a tiny space. Only one man could f… https://t.co/zBU2PYAkcu— MimZWay (@MimZWay)1536502867.0
When my dad came out of the space, there was no doubt who had fixed the radar. The head of the Electrical Engineeri… https://t.co/NqsOsEmMth— MimZWay (@MimZWay)1536502867.0
My dad came out of the Navy an electrical engineer - but institutional racism wasn’t finished with him.— MimZWay (@MimZWay)1536502868.0
After my mom and dad got married, they had me, and then tried to buy a house. Even though my dad was a veteran, he… https://t.co/LmU5jlyrPz— MimZWay (@MimZWay)1536502869.0
Although he was a skilled electrical engineer, the only job he could find at the time was as a custodian. How coul… https://t.co/Q5oq4dGlOz— MimZWay (@MimZWay)1536502869.0
It was the Cold War at this time, and there were opportunities for naval officers to work in Alaska monitoring Russ… https://t.co/86BockJdTV— MimZWay (@MimZWay)1536502870.0
My mom and I moved in with my grandmother - so all the money my dad earned could be saved for the house. My mom and I shared a room there.— MimZWay (@MimZWay)1536502870.0
After a year, my dad returned with the cash. He found a builder in Liverpool, New York who was building a new devel… https://t.co/7JSqkJIfrU— MimZWay (@MimZWay)1536502871.0
This is just one example of how institutional racism has worked to keep black families from having the same educati… https://t.co/7VqwdkQw6y— MimZWay (@MimZWay)1536502872.0
My next thread will cover how it was difficult to get a job using his engineering skills. How when my dad finally d… https://t.co/4tSzFvNgI8— MimZWay (@MimZWay)1536502872.0
I hope this was educational. I have found a lot of people don’t realize VA loans were really only available to whit… https://t.co/tyoT1M6k0L— MimZWay (@MimZWay)1536502873.0
https://t.co/o5eIpc9FwX— MimZWay (@MimZWay)1536701324.0
Miriam later sat down with Evan Dawson on his podcast, Connections.
She retold the story to Dawson while also sharing her surprise at the fact that her Twitter thread went viral.
She was especially starstruck when Soledad O'Brien, host of CNN's Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien, retweeted her thread.
Such a great thread. And so few people understand that options were there—but literally NOT available for blacks. M… https://t.co/SdLR5HRxJM— Soledad O'Brien (@Soledad O'Brien)1536672305.0
People are overwhelmed by the lack of justice in Miriam's father's story.
@MimZWay Wow. When he was accepted into the electrical engineering program in the military, I thought I got to the… https://t.co/vE5coTXSDf— Tracy Schuhmacher (@Tracy Schuhmacher)1536528043.0
@MorgBGreat @MimZWay Can I just say, as a white woman raised in the south, I had no idea the daily injustices so ma… https://t.co/jQFtGnSkHT— Julie Gurley (@Julie Gurley)1536679705.0
@MimZWay @emyryly I’m embarrassed to say I had no idea. Thank you for enlightening me. Really, thanks. (Sorry, I ju… https://t.co/4clryhQnnz— Judy Mullen (@Judy Mullen)1536608004.0
@soledadobrien This is also interesting because we tend to think of the racism & discrimination of the mid 20th cen… https://t.co/575zvzTNAd— Helen's daughter (@Helen's daughter)1536683952.0
@soledadobrien Discussions definitely focus on the south. But realistically - how many white teachers do you thin… https://t.co/vVe1bmiTD2— ルネー ♪ ♠️🏳️🌈🍌 (@ルネー ♪ ♠️🏳️🌈🍌)1536706778.0
Others are thankful that Miriam took the time to tell her dad's story.
@MimZWay @RahChaChow You should write a book. It's a story of tough good people that we all need to know about, and… https://t.co/gsjVUbxqjT— Nicky OC Liberal Open Mind Open Heart (@Nicky OC Liberal Open Mind Open Heart)1536564510.0
@MimZWay Your threads are amazing. You are amazing. Your Parents are amazing. Thank you ❤️— Herself (@Herself)1536511314.0
@MimZWay I’m glad this story is resonating. I have to say I’m a bit shocked some have never heard of stories like t… https://t.co/b9F8lzthyw— Wife Practice™️ (@Wife Practice™️)1536595534.0
@MimZWay @sterling_penny This is "Hidden Figures" from the Black man's side. Do those oral histories; write that bo… https://t.co/a1ADUZhBj0— ninjalibrarian (@ninjalibrarian)1536599355.0
@MimZWay Thx 4 sharing your family's story. My dad endured lethal doses of racism, bigotry & discrimination when he… https://t.co/YTssVmGsy7— Cathy Bridges (@Cathy Bridges)1536611262.0
Thank you, Ms. Zinter, for sharing your family's story. It is important that we don't forget the incredible hurdles that people of color were made to jump through just to attain basic rights, like property.