And Then There Was Mr. Andrew Young

In my Week 26 Recap (just posted last night), I stated that I was going to give my six week long focus on Black American issues a break…

…and then there was was Mr. Andrew Young.

The bottle in the background was his idea! Photo by @anthon256
The bottle in the background was his idea!
Photo by @anthon256

I mean, what do you do when you are having a typical day at work, minding your own business and see Black American Civil Rights Legend, Andrew Young, coming down the hall? What do you do?!

You stop, get pictures and extend your pride filled rant about being black and the issues that come with it for another week or so; at least that’s what I’m doing.

I did take it as a sign to get a few more points across though. I say that because during the month of February and all while I have been blogging about these sensitive topics, I have watched the number of readers and my site traffic plummet. It was a little discouraging, especially because I am so passionate about the subject. So over the weekend I decided to halt the path that I was on and get back to the actual craft of writing. I was relieved to have made the decision for fear that I was losing the interest of my relatively small audience. Since I was not risking the integrity of my work, I did not feel completely guilty about moving on, even though I was not ready to do so. After today though, I realized that I would rather stay true to what I feel and let the chips fall where they may (excuse the cliché).

It was a humbling and experience. Even though I was a bit taller than he, it is amazing how small I felt while interacting with him. I kept thinking, “This is one of our Founding Fathers. This is Dr. King’s friend! I bet he uses the N-word.” There were so many thoughts running through my mind that the enjoyment did not really start to kick until after the fact.

When I shook his hand and felt his firm grip, it placed every other handshake that I could remember under a shade. He was so cordial and willing to take the picture that I was thinking, “I wonder if he knows I’m happy with just the handshake?” The funny part is that his entourage was obviously on a schedule; he on the other hand, was only focused on getting company paraphernalia in the background of the shots. That made me feel as though he was just as enthused about taking the picture with me as I was with him. How often does one get to meet a personal hero? And how often does that hero treat him/her with such kindness?

Afterwards, a couple of older white women were trying to make sense the excitement between my coworker and I. They concluded that the older black man was John Lewis! Close, but no cigar. They asked and we informed them of who it really was. They pretended to be in awe, but were still obviously clueless of who he was; and especially who he was to us. I am in no way ever attacking the white perspective, but I MUST defend the black perspective. Because if she could not even identify one of the greatest men of her generation — not solely mine — how can I trust her judgement when it comes to our people as a whole. I am not blaming her, but I do not believe she is alone — which is one of the problems that we face. We as blacks are taught who “America’s” heroes are, but America is not taught who our heroes are. So how could America ever understand us or our perspectives?

Overall, it was a great experience. It was bucket list cool!

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