By Jordana Y. Shakoor
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That day, though, Daddy might have eaten all he desired, but it wouldn't have been nearly enough soul food to diminish the emptiness he must have felt in the pit of his belly. For it wasn't food that he required most. Daddy's appetite was for a sense of optimism that his life would be better than what he was then experiencing in a land where boundless opportunity was given to white-skinned immigrants but systematically denied to their darker brothers. On that day, as Daddy ate a meatless supper of black-eyed peas, corn bread, and sweet potatoes from a ten-cent, ivory Woolworth's plate and drank water from a Mason jar, he thought about the white kids on that school bus.
Cleve . . " Mama asked this with signs of tears accumulating in her dark troubled eyes. My father dropped his head as though he was less than a man, as though he hadn't lived up to the expectations of his family. " My mother couldn't hold her tears any longer. They began to spill down her face, in spite of her previous attempts to keep them concealed from us. "I'll not farm anymore, Cleve. I can make that much money doing anything," she solemnly proclaimed. Mama then turned and walked back into our three-room shacka home that seemed to engulf what little spirit and hope we had left.
I replied in like manner. Turning my head slightly to the right to get a direct focus on the blackboard, I was surprised. Written on the hoard were two of the highest marks made in English. " The "85" was my grade and the "80'' was Annie Green's. I was happy about my achievement. It went that way all that day. I had made the honor roll and it wasn't too long before it had circulated around the entire school, because at the end of the day there were smiles where there used to be slurs and disassociative attitudes.