This, I believe, is a turning point in our history. Pivoting on the past efforts of many a noble man and woman! Out of the mire of humanity, sacrificing peoples laid the foundation on which this historic event will rise and show to the world – We the people…declare victory over the beliefs and values of those that will and want to diminish this sovereign land!
1984 was a pivotal moment in my life. I was 17 and losing the most important person in my life at the time, my Granddaddy, he had just turned 80 in January and by April 28th, he was gone. This man was my mentor, the leader in my life in the absence of a fatherless home. He dedicated his later years in life to showing his grandsons that they too could be a proud and determined soul, regardless of the ones economic or social status. He taught us a great work ethic; do it right the first time, don’t make those that are your superior think you are incompetent and useless, be proud of what you do, after all you just signed your name to that task!
It was shortly after my Granddaddy was buried that I had the chance to visit with my Aunt Jackie and my mother that I was leveled and caught breathless with information that would change, and actually enforce, the way I felt about other races, in particular the African American race.
My Aunt Jackie pulled from a box some medals and stated that it was time to be truthful with me. I took a medal and closely examined it and slowly read the small print – Ku Klux Klan. I was so taken aback; I was speechless. I couldn’t believe what I just read, I couldn’t even hear the words my Aunt was orating as to the foundation of even having such a medal in our presence.
After a while, I was able to comprehend the reasons behind the medals and my immediate reaction of distaste and horrified thoughts of my family’s past. I was forced to swallow the stories. Binge on the facts and swear to myself that I would rectify my feelings and ways to bring about my part in bettering this world in which we all share and taste for!
I’ve later learned that the savory bits of information detailed to me were only the beginning for me. I went through the busing in the 70’s, in the sixth and seventh grades. Not fully comprehending the overall affect I was to have with going to a predominately black school, when all of us kids were white. All the blacks were bused to predominately white schools. I thought the purpose was to integrate; the only thing that came of that debacle was dislocation and confusion for kids and for adults to attempt to patronize those in pain, let’s try and make things right for the kids.
I cried on the election night, being proud to have voted for the first African American to hold the office of President of the United States of America! I was and am happy that we are moving forward in our land, with our peoples behind us! The majority rules, and may peace and happiness abound throughout the world with a leader that is and has dedicated his life to those in need, regardless of race, gender or creed!
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.