“Just Like My Father” By Dinah Elias

Written by plumtree

Topics: 2021-22 School Year

Since I was a kid, I had always wanted to be just like my father. I wanted people to respect me like they did to him. I wanted them to laugh when I made a joke, but most importantly, I wanted to have the strength and bravery like my father. But I knew that life wasn’t always easy for my father. There were times where I would hear him say, “Some folks just don’t like our beauty.” or to my mother, “Do we want our son to be treated like he is dirt? Is that what we want for our heaven-sent child?” But I always thought that my father was brave. Brave, braver, and the bravest. He always told me, “Don’t be scared of them because they are scared of you.” Being a person of color gave me a hard time. In an all-white school, I was always the outcast. My father taught me to read at the age of 4. Most average children started to read at age 5-7. Due to my early education, I didn’t fit with the black kids at Martin Luther King Jr Elementary. I was then sent to Woodrow Wilson School. The kids there weren’t mean, they just weren’t open to me. Their parents would make them sanitize before touching anything of mine. Father says it’s because they are not used to seeing beautiful people like us. The closest I got to a white folk was when I picked up Andrew Barber’s pencil off the floor and handed it to him. He muttered, “Thanks” and shyly gave a little smile. But other than that, I was the invisible person, the gray sprinkle, the black sheep. But I intended to be brave and persistent. Show people “my beauty.” Father always said that beauty isn’t on the outside, but on the inside. On July 2nd 1850, my father was taken by a white man named Jack Zimmerman and his friends. They took my father far away—no one knows where. All I know is that a few days later my mother and I were informed that he had been killed by Jack and that Mr. Zimmerman was caught hiding my father’s body. Jack went to court but was freed with all charges because he was a rich white man. Without my father, I lost a part of me. I lost my courage, pride, and my power. ~20 years later~ From time to time, I think about my father and how things could have been different. If we had watched him carefully that night or warned him of murder. But now I realize that there’s nothing that could have been done. On my shelf sits a picture of him and I carrying crops towards the kitchen where mother would make corn pudding. Even though he has left this world, I will always remember him. I reflect on the times I would wish to be him. But I know that I have always been just like my father.



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