My father was born in 1919, I in 1964. He died at the age of 61, when I was 16. I am as similar to him as a girl who was overly attached to rag dolls and tales of faeries, who grew up to love lipstick entirely too much, can be to a Black man who trained soldiers to fight for a country in which he himself was by law not allowed to drink from whatever water fountain he pleased. He heard Malcolm X preach in Dudley Station in Roxbury. I used to hang out at the nearby library reading the poetry of Langston Hughes that Daddy’s voice had inspired me to love.
My father did not live to see a Black man make it to the top two candidates in his party to run for president of the USA. By the time I was in college, I figured a man of color would be president someday. Is it still amazing to see? Well, yes. I love the historic occurrence of a Black man running for president for sentimental reasons; but today I did what my father taught me to do, to be my own woman and to think with my head. I voted for Hillary Clinton—not because I never thought I’d see a woman president, not because I went to a girls’ prep school and a women’s college—because I think her the best person for the job of leading this country in times of war and peace. My father would have understood.