February 1 marked the beginning of Black History Month; and, the theme for 2015 is a “Century of Black Life, History and Culture.”
On this Freedom Friday and for the remaining three Fridays in February, I choose to celebrate Black History Month by recognizing and celebrating my Hubby and BFF (Best Friend Forever) for all that he has endured, overcome and accomplished during his lifetime.
I am grateful to have this blog platform to tell HIS STORY, HIS HISTORY and IN HIS OWN WORDS by sharing excerpts from HIS published memoirs, “The Son of A Sharecropper Achieves the American Dream.”
“I am a 70-year-old black male who was born in Mississippi in 1941 to an 18-year-old unwed mother with one child. I did not know my biological father until I was 15-years-old. I grew up in dire poverty in the pre-Civil Rights south, chopping and picking cotton for ten hours a day, eight months of the year. I was a high school dropout and had my first child, out-of-wedlock, at the tender age of 17. One year later, I married my beautiful childhood sweetheart and by the age 26 I was the father of four children. By age 33, I had obtained a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I overcame my difficult beginnings to become the successful person I am today.
My story and my family’s story is about being black in this country — an honest story about how much progress we have made but also about how much progress we still need to make. I faced many hardships and struggles as a poor black boy growing up in 1950s Mississippi. But my struggles and hardships didn’t end when I moved to the north and began my professional career in business and government service. While I was no longer chopping and picking cotton ten hours a day, I was still in many ways treated like a second class citizen. This book, then, is a cautionary tale for black people about attitudes that have not changed fast enough and the progress we still need to achieve.
At the same time this is not a memoir about an angry black man. Rather, it is a story of hope and perseverance — about how I overcame tremendous odds to achieve success and the American Dream. Despite the problems I describe, I’ve had many more victories, and I am thankful to my family, friends, colleagues and county for the opportunities and achievements that have blessed my life.”
James C. Thomas, December 2012
In next Friday’s post, I will share HIS STORY about HIS CHILDHOOD.