As I trudge through my studies, I stumble across this story.
I am humbled, and inspired. Think of what she went through. 72 years old? If my math hasn’t given out, that means she was born in 1945 (OK, I used a calculator). Think of that. She was born before the Civil Rights movement began to gain serious steam. Segregation was the name of the game. Throughout much of the country, if you were African American you were a second class citizen if you were lucky.
I’m reminded of Nat King Cole (the great Nat King Cole please), one of my parents’ favorites. Who couldn’t sit back and spend an evening listening to him sing? And yet he once told about the vandalism and threats and even burned crosses in his front yard. A superstar celebrity, and still victimized by racism and bigotry of the day.
Or the well known story of Frank Sinatra stepping in and insisting that Sammy Davis, Jr. be able to stay in the hotels where he was headlining. That’s right, he was used as entertainment, but until Sinatra stepped in, had to sleep in a hotel for blacks. And these were beloved celebrities! Imagine the average African American back then.
That is the world into which Darlene Mullins was born. And it didn’t go away before she was three. Or thirteen. Yet through it all, she survived. And thrived. And persevered. And built a wonderful life with her husband and family. And now, at 75, she graduated – with honors!
Darn her. Just when I was wondering if it was worth continuing I see that. I hope she can sleep well at night knowing that she’s just taken away a million excuses for not pushing forward to the finish line.