6 months ago



ROAR! THINK ABOUT THE PLACES IN YOUR COMMUNITY AND HOW THIS BOOKER T. WASHINGTON QUOTE APPLIES TO YOU: “START WHERE YOU ARE WITH WHAT YOU HAVE, KNOWING THAT WHAT YOU HAVE IS PLENTY ENOUGH.” 90 Building houses, churches, schools, and meeting places after the Civil War was of paramount importance for the success and survival of African Americans. It is incredible that people raised thousands upon thousands of dollars in an era when many people were making less than a dollar a day. People donated time, skills, materials, money and other resources to establish places that reflected the promise of a better life. They built their communities from the ground up. Unfortunately, it is disheartening to see what some of those places have become. Fortunately, local historical societies, museums and preservation groups dedicate their time and resources to collect and share the artifacts of the people and places gone by. LET’S GO TO THE MUSEUM Museums are not an end but rather the beginning to unearthing the truths buried within our history. Through them we can continue to discover, preserve, and share the richness of the African American culture both now and for generations to come. Museums, books, artwork, houses, gardens, songs and buildings are the result of someone’s dreams. She or he must possess an intense desire to actualize that dream and see its reality AND potentiality. The St. Luke and Odd Fellows Hall in Blacksburg, VA, the Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum in Lynchburg, VA, the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia in Richmond, VA, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, experienced setbacks amidst their progress while completing their building projects. Yet they had a dream, took on the burden and now they will continue to reap the rewards for following through. But until it’s actually done, it can be a burden to the bearer; however, in the end it can prove to be highly rewarding. Langston Hughes’ 91 poem Harlem 92 succinctly describes the bitter sweetness of it all. THE TIGER & THE TORCH Page | 66

“HARLEM” BY LANGSTON HUGHES What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore— And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over— like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode? THE TIGER & THE TORCH Page | 67