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"Let No Man Pull You So Low As To Hate..."

It’s important to create adult memories with your parents because we won’t have them forever. My father was my closest confidant and business partner. Not one day goes by that I do not miss him. I’m fortunate to still have Mama with me and encourage her to write down her fondest memories and share them. These stories are her legacy and my treasured heritage.

If you don’t know already I moved back to my hometown in the deep south after living in Los Angeles for 10 years. On the west coast I made many lifetime friends, some of whom have now moved back to their home countries across the world from me. Savannah, Georgia is not nearly as diverse as LA. Now, five and a half years later, I’m still readjusting to culture shock from coming back. The “Jewel Of The South” is possibly the most visually beautiful place I’ve ever seen. But east coast racism hurts my heart. For a while I served as Chairman for the Savannah Board of Realtors’ Global Unity and Cultural Diversity Committee. Sadly, I have realized that southern culture will never be color blind in my lifetime.

Mama has proudly told me that, “Back when your daddy was in college his Methodist preacher father gave sermons about black people and white people that sounded liberal… Then later on when your dad was a teacher at Armstrong College he didn’t always get assigned enough summer classes, so one year he went over to Savannah State to pick up extra teaching hours. Savannah State was an all black college, and Armstrong was all white. There was almost no mixing of the two colors at these two schools back then. The newspaper actually took a photo and ran a story about your father working at Savannah State. Years later Martin Luther King became famous. But at the start of when your father was teaching I’m telling you white and black people didn’t even sit in the same restaurant together. Your Daddy and his father were good men who stood up for human beings of all colors. We were all real proud of your Aunt and Uncle too, when they marched together for civil rights in Selma Alabama.

Honey, don’t ever forget that you come from a family that believes in treating others with respect. Like Martin Luther King said, ”Let no man pull you so low as to hate him. There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.’”

Tommy and I will never forget our visit to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis Tennessee. Photo: The Lorraine Hotel, where Martin Luther King was shot and killed on the balcony (by the red and white wreath).

Suzana Barton is the the founder of , a travel and fashion blog.

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