To give her audience an idea of the prejudice that existed in 1950s Nebraska, Janice Gilmore asked everyone to imagine themselves as 5-year-old girls.
That's the age when Gilmore, a retired educator who was born in Omaha in 1944, became aware of race. She was the featured speaker Saturday at the Hastings African American Awareness Committee's 16th annual Black History Banquet at the Adams County Fairgrounds.
There were no black teachers at her Omaha elementary school.
"As I walked down the hallways, I didn't see anyone who looked like me, who had hair like mine, skin the color of mine," she said. "I didn't have any role models there."