Showing posts from February, 2023

Black History Month: Who Inspires Me Part Two

  As #BlackHistoryMonth draws to a close, I want to share Part 2 of who inspires me. Like my mother you won’t recognize his name, you won’t find his name in history books, but his name is forever engraved on my heart. He was my dad, Ray O. Benjamin. A Korean War veteran, carpenter, husband, father, he taught me it takes more strength to hold your tongue than to loose it. I never heard him curse or even raise his voice. He taught me that family comes first. Always. That being part of a family sometimes requires sacrifice that doesn’t feel like sacrifice. I remember the great Black Out of 1965. We were little kids. Mom was home alone with us. Dad was on the subway on his way home from work. Once he was off the train he proceeded to walk home by the light of the moon and matches. He walked from Brooklyn to the Bronx. Once he got home, he climbed twenty-one flights of stairs in the dark to reach us. Opening the door, moonlight told him he climbed too far, was on the roof. When our Aunt,

Black History Month: Who Inspires You?

  The other day, on LinkedIN I posted inviting folks to celebrate someone who inspires you this #BlackHistoryMonth. As I thought about who inspires me every day, it turned out to be someone whose name most people wouldn’t recognize, someone not in the history books. It is my mom, Kathleen A. Benjamin. Mom became a para-professional working in classrooms when our youngest brother at the time started first grade. When we were in Junior High, mom started going to college part time. She eventually went on to earn her Master’s in special education. During a teacher’s strike, she joined others in crossing the picket line and teaching her class, dad standing guard outside her door. She said black kids needed an education more than she needed a raise. As a teacher, she taught our peers and their children and in some cases their children’s children. As a parent, she taught us “By the sweat of thy brow, thou shall eat bread.” Back before Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday was a federal hol