Grateful to Have Witnessed It

In the small first state of Delaware in the quiet county Kent in the little city of Dover, I attended a private Christian school named Faith Elementary. We used to have Black History programs every year. The founders, David L. and Oclivery Jones required us to memorize and recite poems by Renaissance poets like Langston Hughes. We learned all three verses of the Negro National Anthem by James Weldon Johnson. Mr. and Mrs. Jones sought to instill in us a sense of pride for being born Black in America.

Years later I would attend Pine Forge Academy, one of the nation's four remaining Black boarding academies. I spent four years there. Crystal Green taught us African-American history. We carried hundreds of flash cards around learning about people like Dr. Charles Drew, Garrett Morgan, Phyllis Wheatly, and other great Black people in America's history. She and other teachers wanted us to know about the largely unsung heroes of the race.

I left 'the Forge' in 1991 to attend Oakwood College (now Oakwood University), one of the nation's historically black colleges and universities founded in 1896.

I work as a pastor in a regional conference, the first of which was founded in 1946. Regional conferences are run by African-Americans whose primary target over the last half century has been to reach other minorities with the message of Jesus Christ.

I have been to Africa twice -- once to West Africa from which the triangular slave trade originated with my forebears, and recently to the Southern portion of the continent.

With all of my education, with all of my exposure to the best about the African and the African in America, I am still overwhelmed in this moment. I have not doubted whether or not we could do it. I've been taught and reminded we can do anything if we'll keep faith in the Lord. We could have done it decades ago. We have always been competent, been able to rise to the task. But seeing it all come together in the candidacy of this man named Barack Obama is just a tremendous thing to witness.

I am grateful to have witnessed this in my own lifetime.


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