Opinion: Like George H. White, we must not give into fear, but we must shine and make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

Submitted by: Bernard George, New Bern, NC

 

As Marianne Williamson powerfully stated, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

 

George H. White was a colossal figure of the late Nineteenth and Twentieth Century upon whose liberated shoulders we now stand.  Starting out in life as a poor black turpentine worker, he refused to allow others to extinguish his inner brilliance.  He only sought "an even chance in the race of life" but was denied time and time again. However, he is a symbol and the legendary definition of "perseverance" during a time of jubilee, promise, persecution, despair and unparalleled resilience of African Americans. His life chronicles the experiences of many newly freed slaves who persevered against all odds to earn a decent living for their families in the context of the “new birth of freedom” that President Lincoln so eloquently promised in his landmark Gettysburg address. Bloodied but unbowed, Congressman White chose to leave North Carolina never to return again to his home state where he was denied the most basic rights of citizenship and respect as a human being. If millions of newly freed and destitute slaves could survive against unimaginable circumstances, persevere and even prosper during those dark times, there is no limit to what we can obtain as a people.  Like George H. White, we must not give into fear, but we must shine and make manifest the glory of God that is within us.