Friday, January 23, 2009

Response to "What Being in DC Meant to Me"

THIS is why I LOVE my Daddy!

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Hey Lady,

I am so glad that you were able to experience this great part of American history. I say American history because, in all of the world, we are truly unique.

There are great and note worthy people in our Black American history. There are people like Fredrick Douglas, Sojourna Truth, Harriet Tubman,W.E.B. DuBois, A. Phillip Randolph, Booker T. Washington, Martin, Malcom, Huey, Stokley and so many others.

But, I tend to think of this being my country, your country and every other black American's country because of the thousands upon thousands of Black people who built this country; because of the thousands upon thousands of Black people whose blood was shed for this country. The inventions and contributions of Black people to the growth of this country. We paid an extremely high price for this country to be THIS COUNTRY.

I think of your personal history in this country. Albert and Georgia Erby, your mother's parents, who left the Arkansas cotton fields and came to California. He worked three jobs and she cleaned white folks houses so that they could send 7 children children to college. Your mother, who decided to become a teacher so that she could contribute to the growth children in the community.

There was Amy Perkins, your great grand mother, who fought off the white land owner that she worked for when he tried to rape her. When she fought and got away, he shot her in the back of the head with a shot gun and killed her. The local law in Texas ruled her death a suicide. She died fighting for her life.

Your great great grandfather, Henry Richardson, stood up for himself when they tried to lynch him in Texas. Others said that he never did bow and he never did kneel. They say that he told the white men that he knew that they would kill him but, at least one of them would die with him. Before they killed him, he killed one of them. He died fighting for his life.

Frances "Chick" Burroughs, your great great grand mother, Henry's wife, did many wonderful things to help her family, including teaching me to read before I started school. Your great grand mother, America Brown, was an adventuress, loved to travel, but made sure her children were taken care of.

Betty Jean Richardson (Perkins), your grand mother ( whom you know as grand-grand) brought me, your father, to California in 1946 so that I would not have to grow up in the racism of Texas at the time. She did what she knew to do to protect her child and to provide a better chance at life for him.

I grew during an exciting time. Negroes were becoming Black and beginning in mass to demand the life that we had paid the price for in this country. I was in demonstrations, sit-ins. I debated and encouraged other brothers and sisters to stand up and BE. I challenged whites to wake up and free themselves from the stupidity of racism.

I have seen and experienced so many things that lead to the precious moment of my daughter, you, standing on the White House Mall to be a witness to the swearing in of Barack Hussein Obama as the first African American President of the United States, our United States of America.

Of course, I am proud of Barack. But, my main pride is in the fact that you had the opportunity to be a part of it. You were there. And with all that this country has gone through, all that Black people have gone through in this country, all that my family, your mother's family has gone through, for you to be free to be there means the world to me.

My daughter at the inauguration: That is the greatest.

Love,
Daddy

1 comment:

Uncle Milton said...

Mai,
Your commentary was great. I am glad you had this experience. I predicted you would be in the crowd in DC on that day.