It is time for us to march into the future

Another year has passed, and I think with great pride and joy regarding my heritage as a black woman.

There have been countless people who have weathered the storm, through great pain and suffering, for the purpose of equal justice. Slavery began in 1619, and African and African-American history weaves together good and evil, freedom and slavery, justice and repression. Our history has touched that of almost every major civilization since the beginning of recorded time.

I thank God for Carter G. Woodson, an African-American of slave parents, who earned a Ph.D in history at Harvard University in 1912, and who had a strong desire to educate the public, and especially blacks, about the history and achievements of African-Americans by starting Negro History Week in 1926.

Despite racial injustice, we have been very blessed, as we are profiled with many well-known figures, particularly in the fields of sports and entertainment.

Music and running have become very natural to African-Americans, due to the slavery treatment in the plantation fields, as we were mandated to work from sun-up to sundown. The treatment being despicable, we decided to sing — and to sing with codes. Most of our spirituals, called Negro spirituals, were born from the cotton or plantation fields. The songs sustained the slaves mentally. When darkness arrived, it was the opportunity to try and escape. The slaves knew how to run.

In this 21st century, African-Americans do not, and never have had, any problems singing any type of music, with a phenomenal voice that is never forgotten. That is also true with our children. Singing and running, in any sport, has been inherited from our ancestors.

Fannie Lou Hammer, civil rights activist from the 1940s through the 1960s, suffered under the hands of racists. She was beaten until she sustained kidney damage. Shots were fired at her, and she was dragged from a bus full of school children. She stated that she was sick and tired of being sick and tired. One can so easily state that today.

As the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. often stated, the African-American lives on a lonely island of poverty, unemployment and incarceration.

If employed, being the last hired, we are the first to be terminated. Also, today African-Americans are more incarcerated than Caucasians in America.

However, we must not become bitter. We must go through this, to get to that. Our intention is to leave a trail for others.

Whatever affects one, affects all. We cannot be satisfied, for the sake of our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. If we become disenchanted, where would they be? What will they become? What future will they have?

There is no black section in Heaven. Neither is there a white section. There are no sections for Protestants, Jews, Gentiles or Catholics. Thank God for that. We are a part of the human race — we are all God’s children.

“I have miles to go before I sleep. I will never be contented,” Also, “What good is it to pass the finish line when there is no one there to cheer you?”

We hold these truths to be self-evident — all men are created equal.

We cannot walk alone — I cannot rest.

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, keep us forever in thy path, we pray.

(Delores Wiggins is the president of the Ohio Valley Black Caucus.)