In the summer of 1967, my father and mother moved us to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where my father took a position as a professor of English at historically African-American Stillman College.
My father never admitted that the move was political, to work for the civil rights of African-Americans. He always said it was just a job.
Nevertheless, my father and mother worked hard in the civil rights movement, and I regret that my father was not able to tell the full story of that time before he passed on, and that he did not live to see this day. I have spoken to my mother about some of it, but now will make sure to listen deeply to her.
My brother and I went to our neighborhood school among children who were not of our skin color.
From that time of my life I took away no philosophical knowledge, only an experience I still consider to be the happiest of my life.
Tonight I link hands with my friends of those days, wherever they are: Cleo, Charles, Dexter, Gordy, and everyone whose names I have forgotten. I link hands and offer a prayer for our nation and for the world:
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us
through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole
human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which
infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us;
unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and
confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in
your good time, all nations and races may serve you in
harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen.