As long as I can remember I have been puzzled by how easy we can lump people together based only on the color of their skin. I missed this childhood lesson and I believe it was due to the inclusive and Christian behavior of my mother.
It was a warm spring Saturday morning in 1967. I had just finished breakfast and was standing in my parents’ dining room. I was looking out the screen door wondering what I wanted to do. We lived in Jacksonville, AR, a small town with space to roam and explore. Just then two people walked up. I could see them but I knew having grown up with screen doors they would not be able to see me. It was a white woman and a black man. My mother operated a home daycare and I was pretty sure they were here to talk about putting their child in her care. The woman knocked. “Mom,” I said. “Someone’s at the door.” My mother who was in the kitchen looked up from kneading her dough and called out, “come in.” The woman stepped in the house but the man lingered outside by the front of my dad’s car. My mother was walking into the dining room, wiping her hands on her apron, just as the woman was keeping the screen door from slamming shut. As my mother was exchanging pleasantries she noticed the man hanging around outside. My mother calmly walked over, opened the door and with a smile said, “Sir,” you are welcome in my home.
This moment was immediately and permanently chiseled into my brain. In an instant I was aware of how my mother’s faith did not guide her behavior it guided her beliefs and it was her beliefs that guided her behavior.
Coordinator, Second Baptist Church Little Rock MLK Reads Program/Magician & Illusionist
Second Baptist Church, Little Rock
Resides in Sherwood, AR