I was visited by reporters from Washington and New York on May 21, 2019. They came to talk with me about my life in Toledo and Valdosta. I talked with them about Family Baptist Church and my transition from the church of my childhood to a freer fellowship: The Baptist Church. I chose the Baptist church primarily because of its devotion to the civil rights movement. That is when Family Baptist Church was born, which was the center and circumference of Toledo's black community.
I talked about my walk with Martin Luther King, and my meeting with Malcom X at his Mosque in 1963. It was there that I discovered that the greatest sin that white America had committed against her citizens of color was that she had taught us to hate ourselves; to hate the black skin that God had given us, the Kinky hair, the thick lips, and broad nose. I also discovered that I didn't have to hate whites in order to love blacks.
We talked about my role as director of human relations for the Toledo Board of Education, and the role I played with students and teachers, etc. At the end of the hour session, I was asked to pray for them. I did, and as they left, I returned to my office from the sanctuary of Serenity church to read my Bible, to pray, and to sit alone and quietly meditate on what had just happened.
I thought about many things and the people who had shaped my life. There was Jesus of Nazareth who taught me that all men are brothers, and God is no respecter of persons and in every nation, "if you fear God and do righteousness you are accepted by Him." There was Gandhi of India who said. I am Christian. I am Jew. I am Hindu, but first, I am human, and like all men I was born of a woman." There was Martin Luther King, Jr. who said, "if you have not discovered something for which you are willing to die, you are not fit to live."
There was also Frederick Douglas who said, "power concedes nothing without demand, It never has and it never will. After all, this struggle might be a physical one, or it might be a moral one, but there must be a struggle. For without a struggle, there can be no progress". Finally, it was Job who reminded me that I brought nothing Into this world, and will carry nothing out, so I must be content with nothing.
The reporters went back to New York and to Washington. I never asked them why they came to see me. I didn't think that was important. I am eighty years old and I do know that wherever I am going, I will go from Serenity Church and from Valdosta.