As I stared at the picture of my Cousin Clarence, I was reminded that “we must keep fighting.” He was so young when he went into the Navy to fight for a country who regarded him “less than human.” It was in the 1950s and he was only 17 years old. For four centuries, Blacks have fought to be loved by a nation that seems inclined to hate them. Not all of its people practice hate, but too many do. Since slavery, African Americans have come a long way in fighting racial injustice, but the battle must continue. Many have died seeking to move the “goal post” toward a more perfect union.
OUR COUSIN CLARENCE
Cousin Clarence passed away over 20 years ago, but memories keep him alive in our hearts. He was the youngest son of Dad’s sister Alice. Aunt Alice could not seem to get her life together. She entered into marriages and relationships with abusive men. Being the youngest female, Dad, even though he was younger than she, had a protective nature for her. He was always “going to bat” for her…took-in her children in our already over-crowded home. I am not sure how many years Clarence stayed with us. At one point, James, the older son, lived with us.
FAMILY VALUES DEFINE US
Two of the guys in the picture above are my brothers . . . one sitting (Robert) and the other (Tyrone) holding keys in his hand. I am standing with the package in my hand. The pictures do not express the fighting spirit deeply embedded in all of us. Living in the deep south, we had parents who exemplified “fight for right” and eventually wrong dissipates. Listening to a news report tonight, one of the speakers expressed deep fears for democracy in America. He indicated that people who are threatened and harassed on their jobs while protecting voting rights, will get tired and give up. My first thought was: Not if they believe in what they are doing. Their weapons of warfare are not carnal. African Americans have fought for 400 years . . . and are still fighting.
WE MUST KEEP FIGHTING – CAN’T STOP NOW
Our Grandfather Arthur taught his four sons how to fight mentally and physically when necessity knocked on their doors. Jim Crow dominated Mississippi and all southern states, but the Fergusons and Dotsons flourished in spite of it. They knew the enemy was a way of life white supremacists did not desire to give up. The racists, as some are doing today, were trying to relive America’s darkest history. Enslavement, based on external features defined by lies and deceit, was the norm in large segments of the country. Violence was, and is the method used to hold on to man’s inhumanity to man and maintain power. We must keep fighting . . . we can’t stop now!