This interview with journalist, civil rights advocate, lawyer Roger Wilkins was one that I never forgot. I asked him to be straight and honest with me and to speak to his grandchildren in the future, of his experiences. That is exactly what he did, with such intensity and clarity.
There are some commentators on this video who feel that it is time to forget the past and move to the present and that reliving the past continues to heighten resentments that are no longer relevant. I understand that point of view but I believe that it is dangerous to forget our history. This experience that Roger is describing is part of our history. Part of the history of America. And it is also true as some commentators have said, that this is not the only relevant history, this negative, painful, somewhat horrible history. There are also beautiful moments in the history of America at this time and with people of all colors and ethnicities. I know because I have interviewed people who have lived some of it. For example, I have an interview with a black American, Robert Woodson, who grew up in Philadelphia in a totally black environment which was just wonderful. And I have an interview with a gentleman from California who grew up at the same time in an integrated community where color of skin was not a major factor. All of this is a part of our history and it is complex and three-dimensional and in my view, needs to be recorded and remembered and considered when looking at the present and the future.
During this challenging time with the black lives matter movement and police unfairness and the coronavirus pandemic, I thought that I would present Roger's comments again. I always felt that every student (at any age) should hear Roger to better understand what was experienced by so many Americans during slavery, in the 1940s, the 1950s, the 1960s, and, to some extent, today. I want to take the time in this description to thank Roger Wilkins for the effort and energy he put into his responses to my questions.