Even though my Grandfather’s passing left a hole in my being, many things he told me filled the gap. It was as if his words took over when his presence transitioned to eternity. There is one story he would tell more often than others and it is this story I wish to share with you.
When World War II ended, My Grandfather Farris Green Jr returned to his home state of Mississippi. It wasn’t long before he heard of Federal money being given out to Veterans to help start out their lives after the war. He figured this money would definitely pay for a new house. So my Grandfather went down to the office to get the money he is owed as a WWII Veteran. The white man at the desk looked up at my Grandfather and said “A Nigger don’t need no house!”. This was Mississippi during the 1940’s. Segregated, racist, and proud of it. My Grandfather had no choice but to build a house, on his own, by any means necessary. He often told this story with a smile.
It wasn’t till later that I got what he was trying to say. It was more than mere boasting. He beat the establishment. He accepted not getting what he was owed. He accepted not being treated on equal footing as whites. What he did not accept was defeat. He later confided in me that had someone told him that he would live to be an old man with all these grand-kids running all over his yard, he would have went crazy. That was his acknowledgement of the rough times of doubt and uncertainty.
In the few years before his death, he was not well enough to travel to family reunions. So the family reunion came to him. Right up to his doorstep stood over 150 members of the Greene family. I could not make it myself but I saw the photographs and received the phone calls. My Kinfolk told me how he was over come with emotion as he told the whole family how much he loved them all. It was then he received his reward. The Lesson he taught me come to fruition. Accept not getting what you are owed, accept not being treated fairly, but do not accept defeat no matter how grim things may look. Your family is depending on it. My Grandfather’s words I now share with you. Holla if you hear me.