I was not there to march from Selma to Montgomery.
No ‘colored only’ entrance sign do I see.
I never once sat at the back of the bus.
And no one has set the dogs on me.
Never was a cross burned in my front yard.
When did I ever see a lynching take place?
Why is it that I can walk in any door,
and believe that there is only the human race?
I sit here with tears welling up in my eyes.
Why do I cry when I had to read about Jim Crow?
I cry because of those who paid my dues for me,
so that what they knew, I should never know.
What must I do in memory of them?
How can I show them how thankful I am?
I must teach my children of their sacrifice.
And never let them forget every sacrificial lamb.
Shelby I. Courtland
©2015 Shelby I. Courtland
Because of all who went before me, I have benefitted from their sacrifice. I rant and rave at all of the injustices that remain to this very day. But what I need to do is to acknowledge that if it were not for those who stood like a wall, if it were not for those who refused to back down, if it were not for those who wanted their children to never go through what they had to, if it were not for those who went to jail so that I could vote, if it were not for those who refused to accept separate but equal when it was not, if it were not for those who boycotted the buses, if it were not for those that gave their life, I would not be where I am today. And even though they are no longer here to read this or to hear me, I thank them! I thank them, one and all!
We must never forget them and we must continue their legacy. Teach the children about them. May these sacrificial lambs never pass into obscurity and fade into the dusty annals of a long forgotten history.