He’s A Tall White Guy

Earl Ferguson is my good friend. He is a dark black man whose family is originally from the Bahamas. He is Director of the Paul Robeson Memorial Cultural Center located in the basement of Brooklyn’s Marcy housing projects. AT the Robeson center Earl conducts an after school program for African American center. In long, personal, talks with my friend Earl he tells me that by stressing that African American children come from a rich, intelligent, African background. And, it is only slavery which has deprived them of the same privileges afforded to all other children of their age, who are not black skinned. This is a long, complicated philosophy shared my Ear and many in his 50’s age group. As a white man I discuss and dialogue often with Earl on these sociological issues.

Earl is my handler who will drive a car and support me from Peekskill all the way to Albany, still a four day walk away. I ike to get an early start at the crack of dawn. Off I trek telling Earl to meet me in two hours several miles ahead across the Hudson River along narrow route 9W. Why shouldn’t Earl be able to sleep?

The church intrigued me on this early Sunday morning. I stopped inside to make a short visit, yes just minutes before Earl drove by now frantically searching for me along the lonely road. Twenty minutes later Earl, now worried for my safety stopped a local police offer drinking coffee in his car outside a local diner. “I m looking for a friend”, Earl told the officer. No reaction! “He is walking along this very road. Left Peekskill a few hours ago”. The officer continues, with no reaction, to sip his hot coffee. Then Earl’s subcounscious summons memories from a long time ago in Harlem when Earl was a vocal, demanding, black activist. “He is a white guy”, Earl later tells me he said to the arrogant officer. “WE will look for him”, the cop finally replies. A short while later, after the church service, Earl finds me along the road. For the rest of the day we continue to share stories about life and the world.

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