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Thursday, July 3, 2008

WHAT IS AMERICA TO ME

These pictures highlight some of the wonderful human beings with whom I spent time at the WorldWide Marriage Convention and other human beings who have touched my life deeply

Abraham Lincoln, whose Gettysburg Address I memorized when I was in grade school and whose writing style I imitated for years; and Sojourner Truth, whose commitment to family, country, and God move me to get up and try again to be a real human being every day




















My friends in Taooma who have chosen to be close to me for years and have seen me through the ups and downs of my life in Grit City












New friends in California with whom I hope to share many, many hours learning together, crying together, helping each other, reaching out to others with compassion and joy.









New friends in Kenya, who shared a lot of laughter and wisdom with me at the Convention and with whom I hope to spend some time in the next two years in Kenya...
as I said to them, "I am the child of one of the LOST ONES who was stolen from our mother country many, many years ago."






And the wonderful artist, Paul Robeson, who in 1969, in Berkeley, California, first led me, as I listened to a Berkeley Public Library copy of him singing, "All Through The Night," moved me to tears and my long, hard journey along the road to self-knowledge and self-love took a most important step in the right direction.
Thank God for all artists and I humbly bow my head to the novelists and poets and actors and dancers and painters who have courageously revealed their African American souls to all who choose to let their eyes and ears and hearts be opened.



Enjoy Paul Robeson's wonderful rendition of "What is America To Me?"



If my mother were alive today, we would, once again, be shaking our heads as, looking back over the years of segregation in Texas, misunderstandings and tensions in the Northwest, heartbreak and surprise in this country, and saying, "No, no, we never thought we would see this day... only in America could this have happened."

Dear sisters and brothers, WHAT IS AMERICA TO YOU

5 comments:

EmeraldPrincessOnline said...

Yes, indeed. We've come a long way, but there remain some rough spots.

Did you read the story from Houston that was in the news yesterday? It was a headline-grabbing horror story about a murder victim. She was a white woman (whose hands and head had also been severed) who was dumped like garbage more than a year ago and remains unidentified. Authorities wanted to bury her, but the town's only cemetery is all black, so people complained. Then the coroner's office transferred the arrangements to a white cemetery and that brought up further protests while her remains lie in limbo and as yet unclaimed and unidentifiable. Copy and paste the following link into your browser to read the details, if you missed it; it is quite a sad story -- even though we have come this far.

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/07/02/burial.dispute.ap/index.html?iref=24hours

Kim Thompson said...

I like your vision of America, Joseph. And I can tell that you are having a ball with your new project, your job, and your friends, both new and old. Enjoy and savor that, dear friend!

America to me? In our country, we have the privilege, ability and choice to learn, grow, help, and serve others. I am proud to be amongst a great community of volunteers and advocates who I learn so much from every day!

JosephMcG said...

Thanks, Kim, for being the wonderful, supportive person you are... you may see that Stephanie got my creative juices going...

SAVE ME FROM MY OBSESSION... I am going to make sure I stay away from blog writing for.... for....
for....

Stephanie Frieze said...

There is much I value about American history and heritage, but we've been evolving for over 400 years and will continue to evolve as the make-up of our nation continues to change. No nation is static and least of all the United States. We bring texture, color and flavor to the table of America and as Lorraine's post indicates, all are supposed to be welcome.

JosephMcG said...

And I feel pleased, honored, and humbled, Stephanie, to be one who is trying to be welcoming and accepting to every person I meet...
Trying and I shall keep trying...