Amy Carter and Me
The nation is captivated by the the two youngest children to call the White House home since John Jr. and Caroline Kennedy. Unfortunately, betrayed by my age, I reminisce about when Ms. Carter went to Washington.
In 1977, when Jimmy Carter was inaugurated the 39th President of the United States, his daughter Amy was only 9 years old. How exciting! I would day dream about what it must be like to be the most important 9 year old in the country. I pretended that I also lived in the biggest and best house in the country (there was no MTV Cribs back then). Just a couple of years younger than Amy, and also the youngest of four children and only girl in the family, I was so sure we could have been the best of friends. But I was also sure of something else. While Amy and I may have had a few things in common, there was no way that a little girl of color, like me, would ever live in the White House.
There was no bitterness to the realization. I knew that our country had come a long way. Thanks to the Civil Rights Movement and many brave souls that came before, our nation had finally realized that “… all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”. I knew I would go to college someday and that I could be anything that I wanted to be. But I also knew that women and black people didn’t become president. I had two strikes against me.
Looking back, that seems like an odd observation for one so young. I guess it was just a sort of pessimism that trickled down from previous generations. Yet here we are, not too many years later, with the first African American President of the United States. Malia and Sasha are where I once dreamed to be, but never thought possible.
We’ve come a long way, Amy. We’ve come a long way.