We all have parents or grandparents that have shared their life stories with us. Some of us listened out of politeness while other listened eagerly as we learned about the past. The Graduation was my way of honoring my mother by telling her story – a story that I heard several times and yet was always fascinated by. Tempie Ruth was a remarkable woman who grew up in rural North Carolina during a time when education was not considered a need for women, especially women of color. And yet despite all the hardships she faced, she was determined to obtain her high school diploma. Her story was a story of strength and determination.
Because she believed so strongly in education she instilled that thirst for knowledge into her children and thus established a new generation of educated people in her lineage. It all started with a country girl’s dream that she could be more; so she made that long walk down dirt roads in the dark to catch a dilapidated bus. Mom fought for her education with every step she took; an education that so many wanted to deny her because of her gender and color. Mom graduated from high school in 1945.
Fast forward to today, when you have buses that pull up in front of your house and yet the dropout rate for kids is unbelievable. Strength, drive, courage, and determination should not just be words assigned to a bygone era.
The Graduation has been featured in Cultural Resources – The African American Lectionary. See link below.
It was read by Shawanna Copeland in a YouTube video – see link below.
Education is one of the keys that can lead to unlocking the door to your success. Have an inspired day!