The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Note From Gramma...

This posting is not to encourage people to vote one way or another. It is just to share what I consider a wonderful note from Tananarive's mom, Patricia Stephens Due, sent to her daughters and her grandchildren concerning the events at the DNC. Whatever happens in the general election, whether you are Democrat or Republican, it is important for all Americans to understand what this means to one segment of the population--a great thing, a thing difficult even to understand without context.

My dearest Tananarive, Johnita, Lydia, Justin, Jordan, Jaxon, Jason and Jovana,

Forty-five years ago, Dad and I traveled from Miami on the Freedom Train to Washington, DC, to be part of the March on Washington. As we proceeded from Miami to DC, making stops all along the way, and singing freedom songs at each stop and as new passengers got on. By the time we arrived, we were exhausted, but the rainbow colors as we looked over the audience were exhilarating, so happy to see black and whites, Jews and gentiles, men and women, all coming together in the name of freedom and equality for all. Dad and I had been married less than eight months when we took this journey together and were so excited to be a part of history in the making.

I must admit that as I listened to speaker after speaker, my exhaustion at times got the better of me. We had been seated up near the front in a reserved section. I am sending you the card required to sit in that area. I am certain I'll write more tomorrow but it is time for us to honor that check returned with "insufficient funds." Tonight, after decades of trying to cash that check, Senator Barack Obama will receive those funds, giving millions the opportunity to share in the interest owed on that check.

We are in California, Texas, Georgia and Florida, but we are all still in that stadium in Denver. The energy of one to the other connects us as we are all suspended in time for this historic occasion.

How ironic that the continent of Africa has called on its own son to restore all that was taken from so many and to show by example how people should be treated. He is releasing us from those chains that shackled us from our motherland to this country--and others, as we were dropped off. Our ancestors are crying tonight because they are so happy and are finally being brought home, and by one of their own.

Now, I have begun to shed tears for Mother, Daddy Marion, Grandmother, Granddaddy, Grandmother Lucille, Mrs. Kelly, Mrs. Jones, Mr. Campbell, Ms. Daisy Young, Rev. Steele, Mrs. Steele, Mrs. Rosa Parks, Dr. and Mrs. King, John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Jackie Robinson, Richard Haley, Calvin Bess, Velton Banks, William Larkins and the list goes on and on. Before us, we had stood on so many shoulders to get to this place tonight and they would all be so proud.
My heart is so full. Please allow the children to enjoy this with you and hug them tightly for me.

With love and gratitude,Mom/Grandma
(Patricia Stephens Due)


Michael Canfield said...

Thank you for sharing that personal family letter. I'm more than a little choked up tonight. This is a great day. This is a good day.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing that. This is indeed an historic night. We all need to remember it well. How much more thrilling to have been present so many years ago and to see that work finally come to fruition in this way.