African-American workers at a cotton gin in Memphis, Tenn., have filed a federal discrimination complaint claiming that they were subjected to racism and Jim Crow conditions that included a supervisor longing for the old days when they could "hang" black men who drank out of the wrong water fountain, Raw Story reports.
According to Antonio Harris and Marrio Mangrum, who worked at the Atkinson Cotton Warehouse and spoke with news station WREG, their boss made clear that they needed to "… think like a white man."
"He pulled his pants down in front of us and told us to kiss his white tail," Harris told the news station.
Harris decided after months of harassment and racist comments that he would use his cellphone to record what would happen if he tried to drink at a water fountain or use a microwave inside the warehouse, according to Raw Story.
"I need to put a sign here that says 'white people only,'" the supervisor can be heard saying in the recording shown on WREG.
Harris is stopped and told, "You are not white," when he tries to use the microwave.
"As a white man, we don't even let Larry use it," the supervisor says referring to another black employee who has worked at the cotton gin for 10 years.
The supervisor goes on to wax about the old days, according to the recording aired on WREG.
"Back then, nobody thought anything about it," he opines. "Now everybody is made to where to think it's bad."
When Harris tells his supervisor that a sign won't stop him from drinking out of the water fountain, he then asks, "What would they do when they catch me drinking your water?"
"That's when we hang you," the supervisor says.
Harris said that he thought about the racist treatment "every day of my life."
According to RawStory, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is "working to mediate a settlement with the Atkinson Cotton Warehouse after Harris and Mangrum filed a discrimination complaint."
WREG reports that the supervisor has been on vacation in recent days, but that he has not been fired.