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    Sharing Dr King's Legacy with My Nieces/Nephews

    By Ruby

    3:48PM on Jan 19

    I have 10 nieces and nephews from my dear 3 sisters. They range in age from 14 to 2 years old and they are the absolute joy of my life. They have been told that they can do anything, but for years - like many mothers, fathers, grandpas, grandmas, and aunties - I have been telling my nieces and nephews this and secretly believing there is a ceiling, there is a limit. [BR][BR]This year, we come to tell them this with a new sense of truth, urgency, and honesty as the ceiling we understood to be made of steel, is broken. I wish to make them understand the full impact of today, Dr Martin Luther King Jr. day, and ironically tomorrow when our nation's first African-American president is sworn in to office. CNN will be airing the complete 'I Have A Dream' speech at noon and I will be sharing the special moment with them, listening to the speech that described the endeavor of Blacks in America and now people everywhere.[BR][BR]I am part of a generation that is unfamiliar with segregation signs, hoses, and barking dogs. These are just black and white images I've seen on television and in books documenting a tragic and horrific experience. Engaging in inferior confirming practices is no kin to my generation's memory as images of nooses, human sale blocks and lashings are to the generation before me. I am also part of a great many generations that did not develop into adulthood with such a positive image of a black family in the White House. I cannot begin to describe the psychological affect this will have on black children but I can tell you it is a self affirming one and a leap in the direction of washing away the centuries of self pity that evolved.[BR][BR]Our schools have long taught us of many great white men and too few great women and people of color. The lopsided teachings in our early education has made very little progress from the 80s to the 21st Century. But the lesson children are currently receiving with a black man assuming the highest office in our country and living it, is greater than anything that could be taught in books about our own achievements.[BR][BR]My niece and nephews will now be a generation even further removed from the history of the African American experience in America. My youngest nephew, 2, will only know of a time when it was possible for anyone to become president including an African American. This is a beautiful thing but for all its beauty, it is due to the struggles in our history.[BR][BR]I set out today to make sure my niece and nephews are fully aware of the change in our history and the direction of the tides. Because, like the beauty of earning success from hard work is lost to a socialite or anyone born to privilege, the reality is as time progresses, the struggles and the achievements we make as African Americans, and believe it or not all in the African diaspora, will become less remarkable.[BR][BR]I cannot promise to my nieces and nephews that racism has been eradicated from these states. I wish I could, but what I do is prepare my nieces and nephews to conduct themselves with dignity and keep their heads held high. I can teach them to look anyone in the eye that spouts words of hate, without falter or considering the validity of the statement. We have an African American president and the question of our abilities and the distance we can go is no longer trimmed with red tape.[BR][BR]Tomorrow, the 20th, I will call over to my niece and nephews and make sure they are planted in front of the widescreen, to take in this moment in history when Barack Obama is sworn in to office - a proud moment for us all.
    Ruby Charles is a Fashion Expert. You can find her here: [[url="http://www.examiner.com/x-1362-NY-Fashion-Examiner"]]

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