The legacy of a day like today, is the remembrance of the names of people we’ll never know. So much of our success is built on the foundation of people who give us a boost, say a positive word or give us the benefit of the doubt when time, circumstance or just plain human spirit would have them normally do otherwise.
Whether it was my grandfather, my tennis coach or the scores of other folks who live their lives everyday with a pride and a sense of dignity that was never lost on me, whenever I’m in a meeting or giving a presentation, I’ve never once questioned whether I belonged there. This might seem strange, but I’ve had people question and wonder it aloud sometimes. I never thought much about this, but as I grew as a professional, I had an epiphany that the reason I felt so confident was due solely to this inheritance of emotional riches bequeath me from those who came before me. As if to say, “your burden is to do your best. We already made it your seat at the table possible.”
So it is on this Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday that I choose to reflect on this a bit more.
It never occurred to me, growing up, that I’d draw so heavily upon the images of my forebears. Not just their memories, but their work. So much of what we do in our lives are single memories lost to time. I was really disconnected from most of this history, until I took a class during my first year in college (and last year in the Air Force) that ignited a voracious appetite in me to discover things I hadn’t learned nothing about in school.
While I could give you an entire library of things to read (and might follow up some reviews and more, recommendations down the road…) here are a specific few books that you ought to add to your list if you haven’t already done so:
The Education of Blacks In The South 1860-1935 – James D. Anderson
Trouble In Mind – Leon Litwack
In Search of the Racial Frontier: African Americans In the West 1528-1990 – Quintard D. Taylor