November 4th 2008

“Let us mark this day in remembrance of who we are and how far we have travelled.” President Barack Obama’s 2008 Inaugural Address.

Sister,

I’ve been calling you for ages. Where are you? You must be out celebrating. Can’t say I blame you.

Girl, when they said that Obama is going to be the 44th President of the United States I couldn’t say anything. Imagine that, I was speechless! To think that a black man is our President, our Commander-in-Chief. I still can’t believe it.

It’s crazy to know that we’ve lived to see this day. Sis, do you remember the things we had to do to get here? What we’ve all had to do to see this dream come true.

1963. How could you forget? Those dogs were vicious and the fire hoses were no better. When those wretched police officers turned that water on us, I swear I thought I was going to die. I remember Jimmy gripping both of us to his chest and turning his back on that water to protect us. I remember seeing the raw welts peeping through his torn shirt after they’d finished spraying him down. Jimmy was a good man.

When I think back to those times, when we couldn’t even sit at a Woolworth’s counter or vote without risking our lives, I thank the Lord for allowing us to see this day. Look at you; nearly 60 and probably out at some bar dancing with a boy young enough to be your son!

Only thing is, I wish mummy and daddy were here to see this. Just thinking of them brings back so many memories of the hard times we had to face. Do you remember the look on daddy’s face as he heard about those girls being killed when our church was bombed? We were supposed to be there that day, but mummy was taking her sweet time as usual so daddy got mad and refused to drive us. After he found out about those girls being murdered he hugged us so tight that I thought I’d stopped breathing.

Parents these days will never know the fear that man had to live with. Do you remember the humiliation in our parent’s eyes when they were called “boy” or “girl” in front of us? Or demeaned by children who threw rocks at them and spit on their feet as they tried to take us to school?

People take their rights for granted nowadays. My son, your nephew, told me last week that he wasn’t sure if he wanted to vote. You know I went off on him. If only he knew what we had to go through just to make it out of that polling station alive. So many didn’t make it sis.

But, now I’m proud. Aren’t you proud, sis? Proud that our generation, and those before us, took the abuse, ran from the dogs and risked our lives for a day like today. A black man is our President. A black man with a strong African name! Barack Hussein Obama. Sounds good, doesn’t it sis?

A black woman remembers

Written by Shaurna Cameron

3 thoughts on “November 4th 2008

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