After reading the recent New York Times article entitled, “Michelle Obama Talks About Race and Success, and Makes it Personal” I wanted to share my own struggles with poverty, and how I overcame (truly) great odds without bitterness or anger.
I graduated from high school in the Texas Panhandle area in 1955. Thanks be to God and my dad I enrolled in North Texas State Teachers’ College in Denton, Texas that fall, and during that year, my little college integrated fully and Black students began to enroll. Wisely, the administration was in control, no outside news seekers or trouble makers were allowed on campus, and the years/semesters 1955, ’56 and ’57 carried on as usual. No riots, no mass exit of White students, just one event of someone writing a rude comment on a sidewalk in CHALK. There, we did that, and nobody ever looked back and regretted the ‘change’ as it was not turned into any kind of problem that hurt or troubled anyone.
I graduated there and out into the world to seek my fortune. I loved Denton then and again as I returned to get a Masters’ Degree as I have applied for and received a Fellowship to teach as I earned my degree.
In that year, I was amazed to learn that my husband and I were going to be parens, and I lost my Fellowship because no pregnant professors were allowed. End of a sad moment, but Ann-Marie and Lisa were well worth the way things went after that. The babies were a year and nine days apart, and we the parents were both teaching in the Rio Grande area near El Paso, Texas.
My story was not over then, but I had only 12 classmates in my tiny high school grad class, nobody handed me a free four year pass to college or made me go, except my parents, not poverty, but close. I had no car and no job, but a mom and dad who wanted more for me than what they had.
43 years and some hard work made me very proud to say that I didn’t do it alone, but “I did it my way,” and I do not think Ms. Obama is winning any fans when she lives on my dime, so to speak, and whines about not being idolized enough by the millions who do truly praise her. God has it anyway, and she needs to be more grateful for her chance to serve in a more American manner.
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