From cotton to college
As a father of three young adult African-American sons, I worry about their safety and well-being. They are gifted in their own way, but the world they inherit will be very different from the one I knew.
I took great pride in becoming the first in four generations to earn a bachelor’s degree. I received a full athletic scholarship from Howard University. After earning my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, I later earned a Masters of Arts degree from American University. Hard work, perseverance and support from people who believed in my potential helped prepare me to transform future generations.
My great-great-grandmother (Ma Mary) was a slave who picked cotton. She was not allowed to read or write. Having never worked in a field, my sons cannot imagine what it was like to live in her world. Nonetheless, her blood runs through their veins.
Jerold, a recent Virginia Tech graduate who double majored in Electrical Engineering/Psychology, landed his first job as a junior engineer with a top defense contractor. Nicholas, a senior attending Virginia Commonwealth University, is majoring in Computer Engineering with double minors in Mathematics/Computer Science. Nathaniel attends Northern Virginia Community College where he is studying Liberal Arts/CGI animation.
Of course, attending college doesn’t guarantee success. Their journey will be full of workplace challenges and unfamiliar cultural dynamics. They will incur extremely bad storms. This is when each must trust their faith and rely on self-preservation. They must never stop dreaming of a better life. Future generations are depending on it.
– Jerald Council, Founder and Creative Director of Councilmag.com