Remembering Nelson Mandela on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday

Remembering Nelson Mandela on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday

I was born in 1963, in northern California. I grew up in the shadow of the Civil Rights movement. I missed it by a wink. I was alive when much of it was going down, and when much of it was at its height, but I was too young to notice or care, in an active or meaningful way. By all accounts, and my own memories, I was very observant and tuned into my surroundings, starting at a young age. I recall the changes and the “hippy scenes” in San Francisco, from the few trips I made into the city with my grandparents and father. I remember that there were blacks and there were whites, and they did not mix. I remember, as clear and sharp as if it happened far less than nearly 46 years ago, the day I was driving with my father in Richmond, CA and was struck by how many black people I saw there. Like the times, the words they were a changin’: “colored,” “negro,” and far more nefarious terms were used, when I was a child. The words, is where this memory sharpens.

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