Racism is a Disease of the Mind

Susan notes: AWR member Yvonne Davis sent me the email below the day after when Barack Obama was elected president.

"Rosa sat so Martin could walk.  Martin walked so Obama could run.
Obama is running so our children can fly."

Kyrinda Richardson sent the above text message to me late last night when it was announced Barack Obama made Presidential History.

My dear friends, loved ones, clients and colleagues, words cannot describe my emotion, tears of undeniable joy, and feelings of pride over this most momentous public occasion in my life.

Oh, how I wished my grandfather Nathaniel Gachette Moss, Sr. was alive today. He died of a massive heart attack in a hospital in Cleveland, Ohio in 2003.

I cooked and served him his last meal. He complained the hospital food was not seasoned enough. As he sat there and ate, I watched him very carefully. His skin glowed. It was the "come back" look, that burst of energy an elderly person has before their last breath.

He had been admitted days before because he broke the bottom half of his leg while walking to his car from his part time security job. At 80 years old, he was still working odds and ends jobs, and even taking a part time job so he could be busy, but also to keep things going.

He took his family out of the projects decades before to create a better life for his son (my father) and daughter. He was the first African-American in his neighborhood to build his family's house with his own hands. With his five-year-old little hands, my father remembers handing my grandfather one brick at a time.

My grandfather, of mixed race, loved politics and reading the Cleveland Plain Dealer every morning while drinking a cup of black coffee. In the evening sitting in his favorite and worn blue chair, he watched the CBS evening news with Walter Cronkite and later Dan Rather.

I watched him quietly while he ate with so much happiness. Yes, this was his last meal, but who would have known?

"Big Daddy," I asked, "If you had one wish besides the wish for our family to be prosperous and happy or the return of Big Mommy by your side, what would that be?"

Without hesitation, he replied: "I pray one day America would have its first Black President. I don't think it will be in my lifetime, but if that could happen, things would change for the better. Racism is a disease of the mind."

Big Daddy was right, it did not happen in his lifetime. He died suddenly that night after I left, but his wish came true last night.

No matter what side you were on politically, this is a time that America has for the world. Let us live out the true meaning of American Exceptionalism. Democracy is such a beautiful thing and my faith in this great Republic is soaring like an eagle flying towards heaven.

God Bless ALL of you now and forever. It is truly an honor to know you.