16 Origins

When he was in sophomore year, he contacted the African National Congress representatives to speak on campus, drafting letters to the faculty, printing up flyers, and arguing strategy. He noticed that people had begun to listen to his opinions. When they started a rally for the trustees’ meeting, and somebody suggested that he open the thing, he agreed. He made a few opening remarks. He gave the message that there was a struggle going on. “ He says, A struggle that demands we choose sides. Not between black and white. Not between rich and poor. It’s a choice between dignity and servitude. Between fairness and injustice. Between commitment and indifference. …” The crowd started to clap and they wanted to hear his voice more. Barack felt that he had them, that the connection had been made. But he said to Reniga, “He’d decided he had got no business speaking for black folks.

Photo by Luan Cabral on Unsplash

That day, He felt the same fear that had caused him to push Coretta away back in grammar school. It was the constant, crippling fear that he didn’t belong somehow, that unless he dodged and hid and pretended to be something he wasn’t he would forever remain an outsider, with the rest of the world, black and white, always standing in judgment. His identity might begin with the fact of his race. but it didn’t, couldn’t, end there. At least what he would choose to believe. -P.112, August 24, 2021

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