A few days ago I returned to Atlanta GA for the funeral of a giant in the Black construction field. Art J. Queen’s influence was not limited to the construction industry, he was an exceptionally good man in all aspects of his life. He never met a person he did not want to help. He would give you the shirt off his back. I could only attribute his goodness to his Christian values which he wore on his sleeves with pride. I am so thankful that I had a chance to know this man and regret I did try to spend more time in his presence.
I had not been in Atlanta in a while but it did not take me long to feel at home. And I was elated and exceedingly happy to be surrounded by so many Black people. It was almost like I could breathe again and a sense of my African/Blackness rushed in to revive me. There is nothing like being around Black people in mass and immersed in their authentic selves. You get to see the good, the bad, and the ugly and most beautiful in all our variations. For me, it was breathtaking and make me know how isolated I am from my roots. For a minute I saw the awesomeness of their material accumulations and spectacular political/social achievements but what was most impressive for me was that they seem like they were in control of their environment and had a spirit of wholeness. I might have just been intoxicated by the intensity of being around so many Black people. But whatever the case might be, I know I wanted more and was sorry to leave this Black Oasis. I know I had my rose-colored glasses on because I could see over in the distance that everything was not straight in the ATL. One wrong turn in the wrong direction could have changed my perspective one hundred degrees. I just know that when I left ATL it was as if I had not finished a delicious meal. God knows that being Black is a precious earthy attribute and I went to the ground in Atlanta.