Brothers Welcome Me to Their City of Love
At Trenton I am joined by my dear friend Earl Ferguson. He has come all the way from Brooklyn to support me while I race walk on to Washington. We are headed down famous route number 1. “I’ll drive ahead and check out the route”, Earl tells me as we reach the Philadelphia city limits. I keep walking but as I near the city center I can’t help but notice how the neighbor has changed. It’s older and dilapidated. Urban guys hang out on the street corners staring as I wobble by them.
Earl returns, “Mister Kline, get in the car, it is too dangerous for you to walk here”. I know what Earl means, this is a black neighborhood, and white folks are not welcome here. I keep walking, smiling at everyone, as I have done so many times before in Brooklyn and other inner cities across America. I pick up the pace wiggling my hip, pumping my arms fast I know something Earl, with a lifetime of Harlem experience. Hasn’t remembered, black folks, poor and rich, respect the athlete. A mile along Earl stops to check on me. I am already talking to a resident. For me all is just fine.
In the town center there is a very nice ceremony. The Mayor Goode of Philadelphia, presented me it a proclamation. You see, all inner city elected officials know what our nation requires to achieve greatness in urban America.