Our history is tied together

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, March 1, 2017

felt like I had some mighty big shoes to fill. Well actually I did. The way I spoke, the way I carried myself had to do the man justice.

After I got out of my mind I had to be the 44th President of the United States I was free and more relaxed.

More than having to be Barack Obama, I had to capture his spirit and get to the core of his belief: that we are a better nation united, and made strong in not just our similarites but also by our individual differences.

I was very fortunate and blessed to take part in this past weekend’s Black Achievement Awards at St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church. I even recall being reluctant when first asked to participate, because of reasons that seem unimportant now.

I was one of many portraying pioneering, historical figures of the African American community. It was rather a beautiful occassion, that I’m sure took a lot of work to put together.

A lot of credit goes to program director Phyllis Nolan Carter and the rest of the behind-the-scenes team for all their hard work, and St. Mark Missionary Baptist and Pastor Barret A. Coachman for hosting the event.

The event reaffirmed to me just how rich our history is. As Pastor Coachman said, “February is recognized as Black History Month in our country, but 28 days out of the year doesn’t do the history justice. We should celebrate our history 365 days out of the year.”

The highlight of the awards program was the Obama family, but it was interesting how the moment was led up to.

Before the Obama family was introduced, there was the introduction of prominent trailblazers like Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington and Bessie Coleman to name a few. All were portrayed by members of the community. (I remember kidding with Adam Powell about being nervous playing Dr. King. I don’t think he was nervous at all).

All these very real people that through time have been lifted into the Pantheon of greatness played a unique thread in the fabric of our nation.

We read about them in our history books. But for every story written about an individual, there are countless others that made an opportunity a realization or endured a sacrifice to make a dream possible.

That’s not Black History, that’s American History. We are only greater by the sum of our parts.

Times have changed since Dr. King declared his dream on that summer day in 1963.

We’re a better nation, but of course, there is still work to do and much more to be done.

There is inspiration everywhere if we open our eyes. There are giants doing amazing things in our community, and have been doing so for a long time.

I have to say thank you to the others that shared the spotlight with me as the first family– Michelle, played by Tykeria Nolan, and Malia and Sasha, played by Morgan Jones and Sincere Milton. You all were great.

Afterwards when the program was finished I had a quick exchange with Dr. H.K. Mattthews. He praised the job I did portraying Obama.

That made my night.