I work with this fabulous lady, Beverly. Beverly is one of the most direct, honest, straightforward, spiritual and funny people around. She has an edge around her that’s part sass, part street smarts, lots of wisdom, great sense of humor… She kills me. I just love working with her.
This past summer, Bev and I had to drive to places like Springfield, Clarksville, and Dickson for some work stuff. On the drive, she told me something that left me absolutely speechless. It’s odd for me to be speechless but I was so blown away, all I could do was just sit there in my bewilderment of what Bev had told me about her life.
Beverly was the first black child segregated into Bailey Junior High School in East Nashville. She told me about the out and out abuse she had to endure by the white kids. Can you believe somebody set her skirt on fire during an assembly? Let that settle on you for a minute….somebody struck a match to her skirt.
For a white girl from Brentwood to hear Beverly tell her story, it was hard to wrap my head around. I could not relate to the taunts, the abuse and what was Beverly’s crime? Being black. That’s it.
It’s interesting to hear Beverly and Rita, another lady in my office, tell of their experiences of being part of all the changes that occurred in the 60’s when schools were segregated. Rita was from Alabama and she tells of how the first black kid to be segregated in her county was murdered. Unbelievable.
The most powerful thing I heard these two women say in their conversations about their experiences is their frustration at going through all they’ve been through, coming so far and they can’t wrap their heads around the number of murders, shootings in the African-American community….this was not what Dr. King dreamed about. It’s very frustrating for them and I’m sure lots of others.
Nobody could deliver a speech like Martin Luther King, Jr. Nobody.