Last Saturday I found myself watching the funeral services for former First Lady Barbara Bush. I didn’t set out to do that, but I turned on the television and there it was. Mrs. Bush served honorably and admirably as First Lady from most accounts I’ve heard; her farewell celebration deserved viewing by the populace. So I sat and listened.

I wasn’t tuned in to politics when George H. W. Bush was in the White House and Barbara was the First Lady. However, I remember President Bush’s 1,000 Points of Light initiative which encouraged volunteerism because I did volunteer work during that time and was part of two organizations that received the Daily Point of Light Award.

Each First Lady has a project that she promotes which becomes part of her legacy. Mrs. Bush believed that people had a right to be literate. Her foundation focused on teaching adults to read. Yet, from what I heard during the service, her legacy was more than literacy. It was about her many roles in life — wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. She cherished her family.

The service honoring Mrs. Bush was an interesting look at her life; however, what I was witnessing was the passing of a time, an era when leaders had some knowledge of government and the world, sophistication, dignity, patriotism. (They were not perfect)

The longer I live the better I understand why America’s Greatest Generation was the one that Barbara Bush was part of. My parents and teachers were part of that generation. They were flawed humans, but they understood sacrifice, service, commitment, and duty. They had a strong work ethic; self-respect and respect for others; they valued truth, a good name, and family.

Are those values null and void today? Is the younger generation aware of them? Actually, it was not the youth that I thought about as I watched the service. It was those in government, those in power who show such poor examples of behavior and decorum. They are the people who cause me to ask what happened to encourage discord in the public forum. Why are we so blatantly rude, hostile and mean-spirited? What has happened to decency?

I know times change, but for the worse? I used to believe that humankind was steadily evolving from a lower state to a higher one. Now, I’m not sure. To me, this time feels like a car with its gear in reverse; the brakes won’t work; it’s heading backwards towards a cliff…

Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media. “When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent in this country, I’ll stand.”

Colin Kaepernick can’t play professional football because he took to one knee rather than stand for the national anthem? What happened to freedom of expression? What happened to free speech? Is this still America?
I’m glad Mr. Kaepernick is socially conscious and courageous enough to take a stand (pun intended) by kneeling to protest the political climate that is negatively affecting many Americans — police shoot and kill unarmed black men in the streets of America and go free. Kaepernick protested in a respectful manner. That is not what happened in Charlottesville where a variety of white supremacists groups gathered for a rally. Heather Heyer was killed by one of them for standing for the rights of the oppressed. Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Berke M.M. Bates died in a helicopter crash while on duty monitoring their violent event. We need protest. We need police protection. We don’t need another civil war.

I believe each of us should take a stand for a worthy and just cause. We should take a stand for our own rights and for those who can’t stand for their rights. Now is the time for all people in prominent positions who have a voice and a following to use their status for the good of the nation. I am not for speech which promotes and encourages violence. I deplore hate speech. However, America allows free speech for all. People can choose what side they support. I am slightly encouraged by some Republicans who have taken a stand against the racists’ violence on Facebook, Twitter, television, and other forums. Will their actions back up their words?

President Trump encouraged violence during his campaign. He continues to divide Americans each time he speaks. The majority of the Republican Party supports the president regardless of his objectionable behavior and divisive speech.

NAACP called for a boycott of the NFL, telling people to boycott game attendance and television viewing. It seems that a clearer message would be sent if all NFL players agree to take a stand by taking a knee at their game openers, that is, all players who are socially conscious.

There are people who stand for the national anthem and the pledge of allegiance, yet they teach and preach bigotry? There are those who stand for the national anthem yet stand against health care, immigration, voting rights, equal protection under the law, and a living wage?

What about those who stand for the national anthem but will not stand against police brutality? And those who stand for the flag yet stand against a peaceful protest by Black Lives Matter? Many of them are in the clergy, congress, state houses, and the white house. Some who fight against their fellow citizens probably stand for the anthem. They may even consider themselves patriots.

Colin Kaepernick is not what is wrong in America. There is too much ignorance. Ignorance breeds fear of “the other.” Hasn’t that become apparent over the last two years? If Kaepernick cannot get a job with the NFL, perhaps it is not because no coach wants to work with him. Owners want players to help them get to the Super Bowl, win the trophy, gold ring, and prestige. If Kaepernick doesn’t get a job because he is not good enough on the field, that is another matter. However, if it’s because of his social or political activism, then maybe it is someone higher than the owners, someone who “owns” the owners keeping Kaepernick off the football field. “Be Inspired”

Indict the American System, Not the Dupe

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Indict the American System, Not the Dupe
I do not believe that the fraternity boys should have been expelled from the University of Oklahoma. Nor do I believe that all should suffer for the actions of a few. I do appreciate the president, David Boren, seeing the need to expedite corrective matters. However, expelling two immature boys is not going to change anything concerning race on that campus or anywhere. Indict the system that separates and divides us. The system needs changing. We cannot change history, but we can change the racist system that has led to this and many such acts throughout the country. Why are we so afraid to confront racism in real ways, in ways that will help us understand one another? With knowledge and understanding, we can learn tolerance. We can live together in peace or continue suffering conflict. What will it be? America keeps missing its teachable moments. Why? We need to take out the emotion and have a real dialog on race matters. There is so much that we can do to foster learning, understanding and respect among our youth to help change the racial climate. Too many Americans will die with long-held biased beliefs about race, but there may be hope for the young. Race prejudice is learned. All racist beliefs are fear-based. What is the fear?

What people are saying about Honoring My Journey

I am so grateful to have been part of your “Journey,” feeling truly honored.
Wayne South Smith

Your book is exciting. I’m half way through and learning information about our family for the first time…highly recommend to anyone interested in a well written, thoughtful book about personal growth and family interactions.
Freddie Holeyfield

Congratulations! I am enjoying your book, so proud of you. It is just remarkable, the history, the family, your childhood and your life, so happy to read your book.
Cousin Viva

Love your book!
Mel and Pearl Shaw

I devoured the book in about two settings…I could not put it down. I now more understand why you are the wonderful person that you are. Thanks for sharing your Journey so beautifully!
Warmest Regards,
Rosa Waymon

You did it. Your book arrived Tuesday and I almost finished reading it. What a great job in sharing your life journey. Being born in the 1940s makes your experience understandable and one that I can relate to in many ways. It ties together your experiences and the times and history as well. Thanks for the book and sharing your story. Your honesty and courage are admired. I think that it is a reminder and a teacher that our history has evolved and some changes have been made. Thanks again, and I hope that many people will read your story. I plan to share your book with several people.
Thanks and rich blessings always,
Evelyn Holt

Dearest Barbara,
Thanks for including your friend in your memoir. I’m enjoying reading your book, especially your homemade ice cream, “Bluebell.”
Betty J.

Hi Barbara,
I am enjoying reading your book. I remember some of the comments in the book. Mrs. Gray is in my heart. Also, may god bless and keep you.
Sonny (Glenn)

Thanks for the book. I am enjoying reading it. I didn’t know you had a farm life like me.

Congratulations on your book!
The book is awesome! I am so inspired by it and want to write a biography about my father’s mother. Thanks for writing your journey and sharing it with us.

Aunt Barb,
Thanks for blessing me with a signed copy of your beautiful book! I have enjoyed it and will cherish this memento forever. I’m adding this to my bedtime stories for Nicholas and baby Preston so they can appreciate it as much as we do. God bless you for keeping our rich family history alive.
I love you,
Angela McClendon Johnson

Congratulations on this great accomplishment!

I received your book…Thanks for all your work, endurance and perseverance.
Monroe Woods

Two wonderful occasions to celebrate – a book launch and your 70th birthday. Congratulations on both!
Joanna and Alan

Congratulations on your book launch and Happy Birthday! What a wonderful birthday blessing!
I am very grateful for our friendship and for your life. You inspire me!

Happy Birthday and Congratulations on your book!
Mike and Mary Lou

Congratulations on your recent accomplishment—publishing your book.
I enjoyed reading your life story. Thanks for taking the time to share. May all who read it reflect and know who you are.

Honoring My Journey

My memoir is now available at Abbott Press and on Amazon. Honoring My journey is a slice of my life that I wanted to share with my children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, other relatives, friends, neighbors, former class and school mates and the general public. I believe it has something of value for all people regardless of age or race.

I spent my youth during an exciting and interesting time in America. The country was comprised of a majority group (white) and a minority group (black), two polar opposites. The two groups have had to design and redesign ways of coexisting peacefully. The civil rights era brought change as black people struggled for equal access under the law. I write a little about what was happening in the country during that time. Yet, this is a book about my family for four generations.

They were ordinary people, not far removed from the slave experience, trying to make good lives for themselves and their descendants. They understood the value of education and landownership and took seriously the four-letter word WORK. They knew it was their responsibility to make it, to make a living and a life regardless of the opposition that segregation and Jim Crow, brought.