What Am I?

by Tracey L. Mack

I have been around for the entire history of man. I believe I was first witnessed by Adam and Eve. I exist in many forms. Over the years, many things have happened to me. Iíve been crossed, broken, and overcome. Iíve been opposed. I have been defended. I have even been upheld. In some cases, I am still maintained, I am still supported and I am still endorsed.

What am I?

Because of me, many have suffered unjustly. Because of me, some of you are enduring challenges you should not have to. Because of me, many of you will always have to work harder and longer.

What am I?

I exist in every segment of life. I am in the Navy and I was there when Carl Brasher became the first black Master Diver. I am in sports and I was crossed by Jackie Robinson on his way to becoming the first black man in major league baseball since Moses and Weldy Walker did it in 1884.

What am I?

Maggie Walker overcame me in the financial world and became the first black woman to found a bank in the United States. The political world is a very good home for me, yet I was opposed by John Mercer Langston, and he became the first black congressman of Virginia.

What am I?

Ever been on an airplane? Iím in that industry too. That did not stop Bessie Coleman however. She became the first black woman to ever fly an airplane and earn an international pilotís license.

The medical field is certainly not immune to my presence. Susan Stewart overcame me and became the first black female physician. The literary field embraced me yet that did not stop Jupiter Hammon from becoming the first black poet in the United States.

What am I?

Though I have been supported by many in the area of education, Edward Alexander Bouchet fought me and became the first black man to graduate from Yale College and the first black man to earn a Doctorate from an American university.

What am I?

As I told you before, I can take many forms. I can be racial or religious. My existence can be based on age, gender, social and even economic status. Sometimes I am covert and sometimes I am very blatant.

I like being in the mix. I thrive on stirring the pot. I love getting between folks. Thatís my job.

Thatís what I do. By definition, getting in the way is what I do best.

What am I?

I am a barrier.

When not all are given a fair and equal chance to grow, advance, or succeed, that means I am there.

Although I was there, Besse and Edward did not give up. Though I was there, John and Carl did not quit. Though I was there, Susan and Jupiter and Maggie stayed the course.

Guion Bluford Jr. overcame me and became the first black man in space. Benjamin Davis did too and became the Armyís first black general. Finally, James Derham fought me to become the first black male physician.

I will always be somewhere. I can show up at any time. However, donít let that discourage you.

Cross me. Break me. Oppose me.

What Am I? by Tracey L. Mack

© Copyright 2001. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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