As one of the first Black Americans to integrate Wardlaw Middle School, I can attest to the fact that the first year was challenging. I endured hearing derogatory comments and was involved in a number of fights on a regular basis. I dreaded recess, especially when the bell signaled its end, because I was the target of many students. As they raced by me to line up, I was hit and racial slurs were aimed at me. In addition, many fights started at the close of the lunch period. I learned to play chess as a result of my frequent visits to the assistant principal’s office. These chess sessions helped me develop rapport with Mr. Whitmore, as he counseled and taught me appropriate coping skills. Mr. Whitmore was one of the most supportive people I interacted with during that phase of my life.
Now, decades later, some members of my own cultural group are the perpetrators of raucous and aggressive behaviors, often provoking caucasians to react. It greatly saddens me; however, more importantly, it saddens our Creator whose word lets us know how he feels about hypocrites. Nevertheless, I believe that we are in a wonderful state that has potential for great wealth if Black and Caucasian Americans would come together as one. I continue to believe that there is hope for Virginia to capitalize on its strength, History. Sincere forgiveness of the atrocities of the past as Jesus forgave us will benefit all cultures as we learn to band together in mutual acceptance and recognition of various voices. There is unity in diversity and my goal is to tell the “whole story” on Monument Avenue. Let us adopt the semiquincentennial for Virginia and make it happen.
Love for God and my country has brought me out of my general arena. I understand the challenges Richmond and our country face and have some creative ways to help the Richmond Family come together on goals that will uplift all members of our community.
I am grateful for the support of my wife and family. Due to the capricious environment, I am keeping the focus on goals that will assist in the stability of Richmond as we strive to demonstrate compassion and achieve lasting unity.