Once you think of black history, we often remember the civil rights movement, of John Brown’s violent protests, of the Underground Railroad. But black history does not end with just one event. It is constantly in the process of being made every single day.
Even in the last decade, huge steps forward have been attained at the very top governmental positions by celebrated and highly qualified black Americans who are making all of us proud in the contributions they are bringing in to America. Colin Powell was an accomplished general who exhibited with quiet dignity and authority that he could lead numerous men into battle. He was honored for his valiant efforts finally attaining the very top levels of the government serving as President Bush’s Secretary of State in his 1st administration. Throughout the halls of government and anyplace Secretary Powell served, he was treated with respect and the honor that he deserves for serving his country so well.
Following the honorable service of Colin Powell, a just as recognized public servant, a black woman named Condoleezza Rice. It was a gallant day when she stepped into that office demonstrating how far America had come from the days when blacks could not eat in the very same restaurants as whites or drink from the same drinking fountains. And her service has been just as distinguished, assembling with heads of state from Africa to Europe to the Middle East to South America and making great achievements throughout her career.
These two black Americans are true models of Doctor King’s vision of people who were distinguished not for the color of their skin but the content of their character. Their excellence as leaders and their amazing resumes they contributed to their jobs provide enormous inspiration to black boys and girls in school that they too can arise in this society and go as far as they want to go if they let their instinctive gifts and skills come to the surface. They don’t need a government program or special help to be successful. America has far to go but Dr. Rice and General Powell are models that the system can reward black people of excellence and won’t over look the contributions they can make to America’s future.
And now we’re on that part of black history that’s yet to be. The future is a part of black history still to be written. And we witness another black leader of excellence who is on the very top position of power in the country, perhaps in the world, the presidency of the United States. And as with General Powell and Dr. Rice, Barrack Obama was elected president, not as a black man or in the context of the racial struggle in this country. He has been admired and praised for his leadership, his eloquence and his ability to bring new vision to this country. It is a day of pride for all of black America seeing Barrack Obama being in this position. He will have to work hard and be judged on his talents, skills, experience and ability to lead. But it’s a testimony to how far the country has come that he had just as much of a chance to win that election as any other candidate. His winning the presidency has knock down one more barrier to black people and throughout African American society, children will be able to say, there is nothing I cannot do if I try hard. And that is the vision every civil right leader since the civil war has wanted for blacks in America.