A testimony I believe all should read so don’t deny yourself this touching account. March 27, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — jinkatta @ 11:53 pm

To The Editor: 

As a 78 year old American of African descent, I feel compelled to 
respond to all this “much ado about nothing” when it comes to the 
statement that Michelle Obama made about the fact that this is the first 
time in her adult life that she has been proud to be an American. 

The country needs to hear this from the Black perspective. 

Long before I was born, my grandfather Joseph Burleson, owned a 
considerable amount of land in oil rich 
Texas. Because during that era, 
Blacks could not vote, nor could they contest anything in the courts of 
the United States, my grandfather’s land was STOLEN by his White 
neighbor. My grandfather, who was literate and better educated than my 
grandmother, drove to town. Seeing my grandfather leave, the covetous 
neighbor asked my grandmother to show him the deed to the property. He 
snatched it. She could not insist that he give it back, nor could she 
have reported this THEFT to the sheriff because of the fact that Blacks 
had no rights in the 1800’s. The prevailing law at that time was he who 
held the deed owned the land. Do you think that is something that I am 
PROUD OF? Right now I should b e living off the oil and gas royalties. 

In 1934 when my dad drove us to Texas to meet his family, when he 
stopped to purchase gasoline, his daughters and wife were not allowed to 
use the washroom. As a man it was easier for his to relieve himself in 
the bushes, but not for the females. We were, however, reduced to having 
to go in the bushes, also. Do you think I am PROUD OF THAT? 
In 1938 when my oldest sister went to enroll in Hyde Park High School, 
she was told by t he counselor that she did not want to take college 
preparatory courses, she wanted to study domestic science. Do you think 
I’m PROUD OF THAT? Of course, when Beatrice Lillian Hurley-Burleson went 
to school the next day, that was the last time anyone thought that the 
Burleson girls wanted to study domestic science. 

When in 1943 my parents attempted to buy the 2 flat at 5338 South 
, where we had lived since 1933, in Hyde Park, Chicago, IL we 
were told that we could not buy it because there was a restrictive 
covenant that said that the property was never to be sold to “Negroes.” 
Do you think I am PROUD OF THAT? 

In 1950 when I graduated from college, I was unable to get a job 
because I was considered “overqualified.” the code word for they would 
not hire me because of my race. All of the want ads called for Japanese 
Americans or Neisis ( the word given to Japanese Americans at that 
time). Do you think that was somet hing that I should have been PROUD OF? 
I understood that America was trying to make up for the interring of 
innocent and patriotic Americans who were our enemy by association. 

My cousin’s barbershop was bombed in Mississippi in the 50’s because he 
was encouraging Black people to register to vote. His wife who had 
earned a Masters Degree from 
Northwestern University lost her position 
as the principal of the local school because of the voter registration 
acti vities. Is that something I should be PROUD OF? 

Now we get to Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the pastor of the Obama family. 
Rev. Wright like so many religious zealots overstates many things, that 
many of his members do not agree with. To suggest that 
Senator Obama 
should leave the church of his choice is not only a double standard, but 
it is absurd. Would any of the talking heads who are so alarmed by Rev. 
Wright’s thoughts and speeches suggest that Catholics should abandon 
their faith or denounce and reject the Pope because so many priests have 
molested children. These children were exploited and taken advantage of 
and they had no choice to even know they could resist, reject and 
denounce. To me the situations are parallel, except for the fact that 
the priests behavior is a physical violation of the innocence of 
children who are marred for life; and the priests behavior is a crime. 
Rev. Wright’s speeches are just words, that one can listen to or not, 
the members have a choice. Should Governor Romney denounce and reject 
the Mormon Church because some of their members practice polygamy? 

As Senator Obama has previously stated, we have entered the silly 

Barack Obama is an adult, and most importantly, he is an exceptionally 
intelligent adult. Like most of us adults, fortunately, we do not accept 
all we hear or see. If we did, the world would be more amoral, debased 
and perverted than the world of today is. 
I see all these “so called” ponderings an attempt to marginalize the 
candidacy of 
Senator Barack Obama. I cannot truly call this racism 
because some ignorant Blacks have also spoken disparagingly about him. 

I accept this as the darker side of mankind who because of their own 
inadequacies, they project their deficiencies on others. Barack Obama is 
a very rare individual, the likes of whom the world seldom sees. 
Like most geniuses, they are often misunderstood. They are objects of 
envy and jealousy. They are suspect because they soar above the average 
man who does not have the intellectual ability to understand the 
greatness of special people. They are also targets to be pulled down to 
the level of the mediocre who cannot stand to see an individual with 
deep convictions and high standards. 

We have not seen a phenomena like Barack Obama in many years and many 
generations. Like Ghanda, like Jesus, l ike Einstein, like Dr. Martin 
Luther King, Jr
., like Mother Theresa, genetically, intellectually and 
spiritually, these people offer the world so much, but they are often 
maligned and misunderstood. 

Barack Obama is a Christian in the true sense of the word. A true 
Christian loves his fellow man unconditionally. A true Christian wants 
the best and tries to bring out the best in his fellow man. A true 
Christian wants to unite and bring the world together in peace and 
harmony. This is what 
Senator Obama stands for; but, unfortunately, he 
has had to get off point to answer these false charges, innuendoes, and 
just plain lies. 

We are in the presence of an angel unaware in Senator Barack Obama; and 
this country needs him, more than he needs us. He is the only person at 
this time in history who can restore respect for America with the 
worlds’ people. Because of his family background, the influence of his 
beloved mother wh o instilled great values in him, the influence of his 
absent father who vicariously inspired a son to go to 
Harvard as the 
father had done, the influence of a minister who brought him to an 
understanding of the value and meaning of Christianity, the influence of 
a brilliant 
Harvard educated wife who inspires him and keeps him 
grounded; he is the epitome of a citizen of the world. He is of the 
world because the world is in him; and this is what America needs to 
bring us out of the abyss to which we have sunk in the eyes of the 

Like, Michelle Obama, after living in this country all of my 78 years, 
loving my country and not understanding why my country has not loved me, 
I now for the first time in my adult life feel PROUD OF MY COUNTRY 
because I sense a maturing, a recognition of talent and character, and 
not color, and a field of candidates aspiring to lead this nation coming 
from very diverse backgrounds of gender, r eligious beliefs, national 
origin, ethnicity, age and experiences. This to me is the HOPE that 
America is coming into her own and will begin to CHANGE and will embrace 
the philosophy upon which this country was founded, where all men are 
created equal and are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of 
happiness. Now I truly believe, YES WE CAN! 
For further information: 
Contact: Helen L. Burleson, Doctor of Public 


2 Responses to “A testimony I believe all should read so don’t deny yourself this touching account.”

  1. CFrick Says:

    Very powerful words…

    I’m always afraid of praising people I don’t know too much and specially if they are politicians. However, as I’ve said before, if I were to vote I’d vote for Obama for some of the same reasons exposed here and for some other.

    However, I have to take issue with comparing Obama to Ghandi, Jesus and so on and with him being some kind of world needed figure.

    I believe the US needs Obama much more than “the world” (I never know what that’s supposed to mean) needs him and that’s because culturally speaking the US needs to realize that there actually is a world out there and that it doesn’t revolve around the US or its president.

    The US needs to learn how to relate to this world and how to deal with other countries as goals in themselves and not as simple utilities used and trashed when they’re no longer needed. That’s the kind of foreign policy that has put us in this huge mess to start with… Just my two cents.

  2. Cynthia Standard Says:

    I thank you for the letter you wrote.You spoke the words of many of our ancestors who have lived as you.And for their offsprings.I,too, believe that Senator Obama can and will bring this world to a better place.And I do plan to help and I am sure there will be millions who feel the same way.It is about the hope,though some may not feel that way.Your letter has touched many and in this internet world,I hope it touches many more.Thank you again.

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