When I got the idea to pay tribute to my dad on Father's Day, I wasn't quite sure what I would write about. My dad was a hard working man, who put his family first. Born in Louisiana, in 1916, he was poor and was only able to get a 3rd grade education. He worked in the fields with his mother and siblings until he was old enough to join the military (one of the few options available to poor Black males in that era). He overcame many obstacles - racism, the inability to read and write, poverty. One day he met my mom and together they made a committment to raise a family together.
My father worked for U.S. Steel Company for many years, purchased property and designed a home to raise us in. As a school teacher, I use my father as an example to my students of all races, that anyone, can overcome obstacles in their lives. My father's mom died when he was young, he could not read or write - he signed an X for his signature on many documents, yet he was able to work and accomplish what so many people say that "they can't". If Lawrence Charles could accomplish, anyone can accomplish. My mom taught my dad to recognize the names of his favorite baseball teams and to understand the numbers. He then learned to sign his own name. He raised a family to love all people, no matter their race or religion. Bigotry was not allowed in our home. My sister and I learned so much from him - and this is why we are successful today. I love to share his story with my students and today I get to share it with the world. My dad died on Easter morning, 1974, but he forever lives in my heart.
Happy Father's Day to my dad, and to all the dad's around the world.