When I was in grammar school, there were two African American students in my grade: Alma Jones and Gabrielle Jacquet. I didn’t spend a lot of time playing with either girl, as I had my own circle of friends; and pre-teens were a cliquish bunch even back then.
But I thought of Alma and Gabrielle this morning as I rang up my dear friend Carol, who shares my memories from that era. She also shares my political point of view today.
Of course, we were both excited that Barack Obama had won the Presidency. We’d talked about this for months; watched TV shows; devoured reading material; and kept our fingers crossed. We listened to debates and participated in a few ourselves.
Carol and I are of the age that literally grew up in the years where African Americans were called Negroes and sat in the back of the bus. As young adults we witnessed the strikes and marches of the civil rights movement. To this day, we remember exactly where we were when President Kennedy was assassinated. And when Dr. Martin Luther King was too.
So even though both of us are white, we were filled with emotion about seeing an African American attain the highest office of our land because for most of our lives this was not possible. “I wonder where Alma Jones is,” I said to Carol. She knew what I meant.