Monday, January 05, 2009

It's Always Some Little Girl, Looking All Alone, Surrounded By Grownups, With Her Hair Done Up. But It's Different, This Time.

This morning, driving into work, coffee mug in hand, news radio on, I was informed that several of the streets that I normally take were blocked because the Secret Service was taking the lovely young daughters of President Elect Obama from the stately and patrician Hay Adams Hotel to Sidwell Friends private school, where they were beginning the new semester.

And, I'm old. In my own lifetime, I traveled the South with my family and walked past the Colored Bathroom into the Women's Bathroom, sat at lunch counters where "colored children" couldn't sit, watched my dad attend the March on Washington and the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King. In my own lifetime, the Misses Obama wouldn't have been allowed in either the Hay Adams (as guests) nor at a prestigious DC private school.

And so, on 20th St., N.W., DC, this morning, I just broke down in deep, gasping sobs. Sobs for Thurgood Marshall. Sobs for little Linda Brown of Brown v. Board of Education, who wanted to go to school with her white playmates, Mona, Guinevere, and Wanda. Sobs for all of those who gave so much to make America live up to her promise.

Today, two little African American girls traipsed off from one of DC's finest hotels to one of DC's finest schools. We routed traffic all around the city in order to make it happen (because George and Laura Bush are jerks.) And, for just a minute, I am proud of us. I am proud of how far we've come in just one lifetime. Go, America. You go, Girl. That was pretty cool.

Thanks to the folks at Eschaton who helped me find the pictures that I was remembering.


Celestite said...

I remember that second picture. The contrast between it and the first one made my heart stop.
Wonderful post.

ArachneDefiant said...

Awesome post - isn't it amazing how things have changed in such a relatively short period of time? Thanks for your heartfelt post.

Anonymous said...

These posts are one of the many reasons why I love you Hecate. The juxtaposition between the images hadn't occurred to me and seeing them made me tear up.


Anonymous said...

I'm in agreement with everyone else - a beautiful post.

Regarding the ugly Blair House business, I don't know the reason for such seeming pettiness myself, but I'll toss out a suggestion - the Administration may be using these final days for some end-of-term political fund-raising,* in which case having some close-by, highfalutin' digs for well-heeled contributors would help loosen up those wallets.

*(one of the very few things Dear Leader Pretzelcoatl is actually good at.)

As a slight tweak to the hypothesis above, I know someone - definitely NOT a wealthy person - who has been invited on a private WH tour within the next two weeks, apparently for her services with a conservative political group (Concerned Women of America, I think she said). So this is also a good time to do some preservation/maintenance work on the ol' right-wing grassroots political network, so it will be available when (their) better days return.


Anonymous said...

Even though in time terms this has been a "short" progression, as has gay rights, what the hell has taken us so long?

How can anyone in this day and age look at Barack or Michelle Obama and think of them as backward or lesser?

It is envy, pure and simple. People who cannot or will not achieve on their own are out to destroy those that do.

I don't know how to cure human nature. But I do think in another 200 years we're all going to be mocha.

Anonymous said...

beautiful. gave me chills. thank you.

Anonymous said...

Blair House is being used by former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who is receiving a Medal of Freedom from the preznit. Of course the timing of that trip was meant to cause the Obama's problems and shows how petty the Bushes are.

And your post is very beautiful.


Michelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle said...

I love the changes in our country and am excited to see Barack Obama take office but there is no need to be cruel to the Bush family. They have given unprecedented access to the White House and have been incredibly gracious during this transition.

Hecate said...

They have given unprecedented access to the White House and have been incredibly gracious during this transition.

Irony rises from her chaise, swallows Draino, slits her wrists, loads her pockets with rocks and heads for the sea.

therapydoc said...

Living history is so much more fun than reading about it, although we should live long enough to read about this. It would be nice.

Ali said...

crying. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

We were driving across the country, on (army) leave from New Mexico to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, when we heard that the 82nd Airborne had been called out to Little Rock. My father refused to drive through Arkansas. . . . the power of that detour . . . those little girls.

Thanks for your post.

Anne Johnson said...

Every time I think of this new president-to-be and his family I get chills. He could have been standing in line with me the day they integrated the municipal pool in my Maryland hometown. I say that's quick progress, especially considering how long it took (and how many lives ended) to obliterate slavery.

The other day I found myself stranded for a moment in my daughter's public high school. There were old pictures of previous classes on the walls. I'd never noticed them before. The earliest one was 1928 -- and there were about a half dozen African American students in the photo. So the public school here had already integrated. Sadly, today there are only about a half dozen African American students in each graduating class. The town I live in is more segregated than many in the South. Not by design, but black people just don't choose to live here.

Anonymous said...

yeap you are right contrast between it and the first one made my heart stop too. i was searching for mochahost coupon code. the best source of saving.