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Who Will They Say You Are?

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There is a scripture in the Bible where Jesus and his disciples are having a conversation and Jesus asks the question, “who do the people say I am?” The discussion finally gets around to Jesus asking, “well who do you say I am?” Of course Peter responds with the correct answer.

That scripture came to mind this week when I heard and read remarks about Governor Lester Maddox, Senator Strom Thurman, and Mayor Maynard Jackson. What did they do and how will they be remembered. What are the people saying about who they were?

Governor Lester Maddox was remembered as the restaurant owner who stood in his establishment’s doorway with an axe handle, defying Blacks to enter his place of business during the fifties. Maddox was later elected governor of Georgia for taking that racist stand against the Black citizens of Georgia. This was his earthly reward by the other racists of Georgia. That is his legacy.

Senator Strom Thurman was an elected school boardmember, mayor, state representative and later US Senator in South Carolina. Newspapers and television commentators could only say he lived to be 100, served 48 years in the senate and vowed for segregation, “yesterday, today and tomorrow.”

He was the first southern Senator to hire a Black on his staff, however the records show that Thurman fought against every piece of legislation that would grant Blacks any protection under the constitution.

Mayor Maynard Jackson was elected as Atlanta’s first Black mayor, and what do you think people said about him? People from every race were in attendance at his funeral. Bill Clinton, former president of the United States, was there with accolades expressing how Jackson was a builder of people.

The president of Delta Airlines remarked about how Jackson helped him build an airport by using Affirmative Action so everyone made money, which is good for business. The president of Coca Cola spoke of the positive business relationship developed because of Maynard Jackson’s presence as mayor.

Andrew Young, former mayor and US Ambassador, spoke of Jackson’s commitment to fairness, equality, justice and how good affirmative action leads to a larger financial pie for all involved. There was a long line of speakers from every walk of life telling the world all of the good things that Jackson had done in his 65 years on earth helping people.

The first two individuals had greater opportunity and recourse to help improve the status of mankind, but because they spent most of their time hating others, little time was devoted to getting positive things done. The first two had nothing said of their contribution to the legislative history other than they served.

Jackson was praised by everyone for having the vision to create many jobs and making Atlanta an international city in the south. Jackson served all citizens regardless of race, color or creed while the others only served a select group.

Back to the questions Jesus asked his disciples, who will the people say you are? What will they say you accomplished?

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