On October 16, 1995, my son left Boston to attend the Million Man March in Washington, D.C. He was 15. Today he is in D.C. for another historic reason, to attend the inauguration of President of Barack Obama. He is 29. He left from New York.
On both occasions, I took the day off to watch these historic events unfold.
The march and this election have elevated my son’s spirit and strengthened the pride in his Black maleness that his father and I worked hard to engender in him. Despite our vigilance in raising him, he was not immune to the narrow expectations of others because of his skin and gender. He had several encounters with educators, security, and ordinary people because their eyes only saw him through the filter of stereotypes. He was able to rise above this and not simply because he is quite tall. He was given a solid foundation by the extended family of relatives and friends who nurtured him.
Both the Million Man March and the candidacy and election of President Barack Obama have helped him walk even taller.
I am so pleased that my daughters and my granddaughter are living to witness this historic moment, happening because of long struggle, the efforts of people representing virtually every tribe, and a collective faith in a better tomorrow.
But there is an extra pride and joy in my thoughts when I think about what this election and that historic march have meant/mean to my son. No limits for him or another Black man ever again.
Oh Happy Day! Praise God.
As time goes on, what we already know will be further revealed; Barack Obama has defined himself. We should all be so strong.