Ok, 2 Dope Readers, we have a question for you. If you could have lunch with anyone–dead or alive–who would it be? And what would you talk about?
Da Realist 1
I am going to stick with someone living. For a historian, picking from people who have passed on presents far too many possibilities. I could never narrow it down to just one.
While there are many people I’d love to dine with, I would select Rep. John Lewis (GA). He is a civil rights icon, truly a national treasure. He has witnessed and participated in so many important events of the 20th century. The Freedom Rides. The March on Washington. Freedom Summer. Bloody Sunday. He was there for all of it.
I missed an opportunity to meet him when I was at Miami University in the spring of 2007. John Lewis gave the commencement address at graduation, but he also came to my department. Although I thought I was a logical choice, I was not selected to meet with him or show him around. Ironically, while he was touring the department, I passed him and his escorts (my colleagues) in the hall. They waved and kept walking. Looking back on it now, I wish I had gone to the dean and asked to meet Rep. Lewis. All he could have said was no. Or, I should have tried to introduce myself when I passed by him and my colleagues.
And what would we talk about? Oh my! Where would I start? I would definitely ask him to sign his autobiography for me. From growing up in the South, to the Civil Rights Movement, to his career as a congressman, I’d be willing to listen to anything he had to say. I’d be honored just to sit and talk and share a meal.
I could come up with a number of people that I would love to have lunch with, but if I have to name someone, I will identify Dorothy I. Height as the woman I would like to break bread with.
Dorothy Irene Height, who lived to be 98 years old, was a Civil Rights and Women’s Rights activist. She served as President of the National Council of Negro women for 40 years and National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Many sitting U.S. Presidents sought her council over the years. She was the special guest at President Barack Obama’s 2009 Inauguration.
If I were able to partake in lunch with Dorothy Height, I would ask her what inspired her to keep working towards equality over the years. I would like to know what it felt like for her to experience the inauguration of President Barack Obama, the first African American President of the United States. Did she give up anything for this lifetime commitment to black liberation and women’s liberation? Were there times in which she felt like her commitment to one movement alienated her from the other? During her fight for equal rights, what was her greatest moments and what were her most heart breaking moments? I would like to know what this current moment in our lives feels like for her, especially given this very tough summer in civil rights.
Of course, I would talk to her about what Delta Sigma Theta meant to her.
Who would you have lunch with if you had the opportunity?