Travel Date: Friday, April 4th 2014
If it weren’t for my parents – more notably my mother – I wouldn’t be where I am today.
When I googled directions to get to Charlotte, North Carolina from Lexington, Virginia a couple of routes showed up. I decided to avoid the faster interstate route and go with the road-less-traveled option. On Rt. 220 I saw a sign for Booker T. Washington National Monument near Rocky Mount. Hearing the name often on TV and not knowing anything about it, I decided to make a deviation from my plan and drive over to the Monument.
I learned about the dedication of a slave, who was originally deprived of an education due to his race, work hard to earn and receive his education, and create opportunities (Tuskegee Institute) for others to follow suit was quite inspirational.
Visiting the farm he grew up in, looking at his living quarters and walking around it on a slightly cold morning made me reflect on what it was like in the late 1850s and the hardships of slave work and winter weather.
It also afforded me the opportunity to reflect on my own journey from the British education system in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and my parents – more notably my by mother – who slogged hours and hours daily, saved up for 18 years to pay for me to have an American opportunity.
An opportunity to learn is only an opportunity unless a willing participant seizes the opportunity to consciously create and define their own experience. My parents savings, an American education, a job that I worked on for 13 years has presented me with permanent residency and an opportunity to do something great with it. I hope to live up to the task.
I am grateful to the National Parks Service for preserving the property and sharing the story and I am inspired by Mr. Washington grit and determination to seek economic liberation for himself and others through an education.