Dixie and the South On Inauguration Day of Barack Obama

The night Obama won the Presidential Vote, I sat motionless staring at my computer screen (my chosen mode) that evening. The house was quite with two tow-headed sons and a once tow-headed, man all sleeping soundly. I had to know, I had to see it, feel it and be there when that moment in history happened.

I wept. Right there on my keyboard as I leaned into the big screen. Daring to miss a moment, a detail, a smile. Malia Obama is the age I was when Martin Luther King, Jr. was slain.

It is staggering to learn about segregation when you were pretty sheltered from its perils. I was raised in Dixie, New Orleans to be exact. And many things circulate my mind as I try to grasp what was happening in the world as I was shielded from it.

1) President John F. Kennedy Assignationl

2) My father, a Tulane Law graduate, was a clerk on the Kennedy investigation there in New Orleans;

3) 16th Street Baptist Church/Birmingham bombing/murder of the children - I'll never forget the chill that came over me as I picked up a children's book that revealed this history as my own tots sat reading Dr. Suess;

4) Civil Rights;

5) Alfred in 3rd Grade was bussed to our school - I recall the fact and nothing negative or overly positive;

6) Rosa Parks - I grasped the magnitude as an adult

Now that I can understand all of these atrocities, I am glad I was young and didn't understand at the time. Mainly, I am glad our world has changed!

Even better, I am thankful for a father who taught us to love all people. I have many memories of my Daddy's love for folks of all colors and social rank. One of my fond memories as a child was when my Daddy would take our entire family, all of us girls and my brother, to the African American church of one of his clients. All of these brothers were performing together. It was wonderful.

Yes, we were the only white folk there. Was the music awesome, you bet! Only now do I understand to courage it took for him to take a stand for African American people, by saying yes, we will socialize with each other. We will attend. Those were some good times and we loved the music.

So this Inauguration Day of President Elect Barack Obama, I am thankful for this place in history. And I am thankful with how far we have come as a country. I appreciate and respect the story of Michelle and Barack and their walk to the White House.

Today in the South, I am thankful for our community and church where we play and worship side-by-side children of all races and one God who loves us the same.

Today in Dixie, my South, this Inauguration Day, it "Works for Me Wednesday" to embrace the history of this great nation and share it with my children right here and now.

Would you like to share what WFMW - any of the positive changes you have seen in this delicate area of our history?

God Bless You and America!

**Editing in to submit this to The Inspired Room to share what is beautiful to me this week! Go see others thoughts and share yours.

Warmly,

8 comments:

Upstatemomof3 said...

We certainly have come along way in the past century

Beth in NC said...

I live in the south too, and fortunately I was born in 1967 and didn't have to witness a lot of the hatred with my own eyes. However, I was certainly raised around a lot of hate-filled people (blind really, full of fear) who didn't want things to change.

I am so grateful my daughter won't know that type if life. Our church is fully blended with all races and nationalities. Thank God for each wall of racism that is torn down.

I pray God protects President Obama and his family. They have a rough road ahead of them.

God bless America.
b

Belle (from Life of a...) said...

Amen...I am so amazed at the HOPE I see on people's faces and hear in their voices. President-elect Obama seems to be such a marvelous combination of charisma and intellect tempered with humility. We'll be having lunch together at work today and watching the ceremony. Amazing...

blueviolet said...

What a beautifully written post. Thank you.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Regardless of politics, I believe that most Americans agree that Barack Obama's election shows how far we've come in the struggle for civil rights. I am so glad that my daughter will grow up in a world where this was and is possible.

photoqueen said...

My mom's family is from southern Georgia, and I remember noticing on a trip "home" when I was in high school that I only saw black people in service positions (cook, nurse, waiter, etc.). In my extended family's world, that's just how it was - and this was just a few years ago.

It both broke my heart, made me feel ashamed and angered me. So, as a Southern woman once-removed, I, too, have had chills and tears about the historical significance of this inauguration.

Amias said...

I came here by way of Sandy Carlson .. and I am so glad I followed the link.

I can't say which have touched me more, the original article, or the comments it inspired.

I was born in Dixie, the Mississippi delta, I was there during the civil rights movement, a child of eleven, hiding under the bed from the bullets, because we tried to vote. It was a dark period, but when I read a post like this one, and comments such as it inspired, I can see hope realized --- and indeed, for the first time in this old one life, I can feel that hope.

Not just because Obama is a "colored" man, but because we all, every race and creed, voted for him. He was indeed, the people's choice!

Thank you for making me feel so darn good -- I thought it couldn't get better, and there you go -- making this old one cry tears of joy, once again.

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Beautiful post, thanks so much for the inspiration today!

blessings,
melissa