Lest we forget..


I have been crying for the past hour or so. Moved my the speech today of Rep John Lewis at the DNC. He spoke plainly and from the heart about the efforts being taken across this country to suppress the voting rights of others to steal an election based on unfounded charges of voter fraud. I will include the link below. The reason why it is so touching to me is his remembrance of a time when we, meaning Black Americans, were beaten and killed because they simply wanted the right to vote. You may wonder how and why this has such an impact on me. I remember. I grew up through the Civil Rights movement. I KNOW what it’s like to be treated as less that a person simply because of the color of your skin. To wonder why everyone hates me without knowing me. To feel like I was less than others. To hate myself because I was born this way. I know that pain. It is deep and profound. It is as deep as losing a loved one. It is consuming and paralyzing. It hurts to the core of your soul.

Through the years as a people we struggled not just for equality, but basic human dignity. I am reminded of a time when I was around 5 years old. I was in North Carolina with my grandfather in the town supermarket.  My grandfather is biracial, lighter in skin, much lighter than myself. As we stood at the checkout counter, a white man came upon us. Leo, he said, how are you? My grandfather removed his hat and said hello, Mr.. His head partly bowed, his shoulders sinking in as a sign of humility and submission. The man looked at me and said, Who’s little Darkie is this? To which my grandfather replied, That’s my grand baby Darrell, sir.  Say hello to Mr.. Being obedient I answered. It was a moment that at that time puzzled me. Here was the man who I idolized, the strongest man in my life, crumbling, humbled by an older white man who referred to me as a darkie. I remember the shame behind his eyes. I never ever forgot that. We didn’t speak much on the way home and he struggled to keep his composure burdened by the weight of disgrace.

I share these 2 stories now because I am so hurt. Not because of these things, but seeing young kids today, embracing the term Nigga as if it is something to be proud of. The argument that it has a different meaning is only because these kids have no concept of history and are ignorant to its impact. They do not know that they are only a generation removed from a time when that word may have been the last thing you heard before being killed. They do not know of the countless lives lost by our people fighting to simply be called a human being. It is profoundly sad. It hurts my soul that they are not educated enough to know the ugliness that they are embracing.  Those that do not remember history are doomed to repeat it…

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