Backgrounded with Bigotry (Day 5)
"No child is born a racist." That was what Dr. Shirley Cherry (pictured) had written on a pin that she pinned to her chest. The first stop that my group made on our off day in Montgomery was to the Dexter House and to the adjacent house of MLK, where he lived from 1954-1960. Dr. Cherry manned the desk at the front of the Dexter House as another one of the other kind ladies there gave us a tour of the two houses. After about an hour of the tour, and about 30 minutes of wisdom from Dr. Sherry thereafter, we stopped for lunch and then headed for the Civil Rights Museum in downtown Montgomery.
Upon entering the Civil Rights Museum, it all set in.
My grandfather grew up in rural Bobo, Mississippi and just turned 90 years old in February. He grew up in a different time when the country, and the South especially, was deeply segregated. I visited him last summer and we began discussing the mayor in office in Norfolk. It didn't seem to matter what good acts, or bad acts, that the mayor did for the community. All that mattered to Grandaddy was that the mayor was black. That was it, black.
After having that conversation with Grandaddy I recalled his southern roots and I was quick to brush off his bigotry. I've grown to love him for who he is no matter what. However, we are separated by our differences on race views and I have grown-up loving people no matter what their background is or where they call home.
Seeing the stories of hatred that the Civil Rights Museum told made me appreciate the love that I have for others in this world full of divisions.
From time to time I remind myself that we're born to love, yet taught to hate. Seeing the pin on Dr. Cherry's chest today reaffirmed my personal belief of this struggle that we as society face from time-to-time. In order to move forward in life, we must forgive those who seem to hold us back. However, in order to forgive, we must understand the backgrounds of those who are against us.