I had an extraordinary telephone conservation with my 86 year old black dad, a lifelong Democrat and huge Obama fan. He called to ask me, “Is Obama anti-Christian?” Dad has been a Christian pastor for over 50 years. I said, “Dad, I have been telling you about Obama’s anti-Christian policies for the past five years.” Dad replied, “And I have not been listening.”
Dad confessed that he simply could not bring himself to go against a black man in the White House. I felt dad was expressing the sentiments of many blacks of his era. I asked Dad to explain why he could not honestly assess our black president.
Dad became passionate. He said it was because of deep, deep scars he suffered at the hands of white people. Dad said, “I don’t hate white people, but my scars run very deep; calling me a n***** and rubbing my head for luck.”
He shared about the awful things he experienced while in the Merchant Marines around 1946. Dad and Jackson were the only blacks on the ship. Dad was a Quartermaster.
He said the crew was sea-weary, exhausted and emotionally spent after almost losing their ship in a storm. The crew was extremely excited and really looking forward to their much needed shore leave when they landed in St Petersburg Florida.
Upon their arrival, word came down that every crew member had shore leave except Marcus and Jackson. St Petersburg had a curfew for “coloreds”. Blacks could not be on the streets after dark.
Dad said he broke down in tears. Jackson was enraged and began cussing. He yelled at Dad for crying. “Marcus, knock it off!”
Word spread among the sailors that there were two coloreds on the base. The sailors were outraged by Dad and Jackson’s presence on their base. On several occasions the two young black men had to be encircled by guards for protection.
Dad and Jackson took their chip which granted them a hair cut to the base barber shop. The barber said, “I ain’t never cut a darky’s hair and I ain’t gonna start now! My razor just might slip and cut a darky’s ear off.”
Jackson and Dad had to eat their meals in the mess hall alone after everyone else had eaten.
Another ship arrived at the base. When the crew of that ship heard about the two n****** on base, a mob of them stormed the building where Jackson and Dad were. The angry mob planned to lynch the two n******.
Chased by the mob, Dad and Jackson, assisted by shipmates, fled down back stairs to the office of the officer-in-charge who confronted the mob. “Now look here boys. I know you don’t want these coloreds here. I don’t want them here either. We told them people in New York not to send them down here, but they did it anyway. And by golly, we are gonna do right by them.” The mob dispersed.
Then, the officer had the nerve to instruct Dad and Jackson, “Now you boys leave them alone.”
On another occasion, Dad and his white buddy, Armstrong, had to catch a train to meet their ship in California. While waiting at the train station, an official approached Dad, “What are you doin’ boy? Don’t you know your place?” The official escorted Dad to the rundown horrible colored waiting room.
Enraged, Dad said he turned to Armstrong and said, “You white son of a b****!” Dad said he was not a curser and he knew it was not Armstrong’s fault. He was just so humiliated and frustrated.
In the 1950s when Dad broke the color barrier to become a Baltimore City fire fighter, his humiliation continued. In the firehouse, Dad could not drink from the same coffee pot as the white firemen; separate eating utensils, sleeping area and bath room.
Dad said he could go on and on about racial injustices which have left him with deep scars.
Dad is not on the internet. He said, “My computer and I are not on speaking terms.”
I told Dad I was going to send him information in the mail confirming that Barrack Obama is anti-Christian.
For the first time, I felt emboldened to challenge Dad regarding this sensitive issue. I said, “Dad, once you know the truth about Obama, which loyalty will reign supreme? Will it be your loyalty to a fellow black man or your commitment to Jesus Christ.”
Dad chuckled and replied without hesitation, “It will be to Jesus Christ.”