Dear all, I am so pleased to talk to you today. As you know, I ran for President of the American Sociological Association. I was elected as the 112th President of the Association today. First, I wish to give honor to my grandmother, Flavelia, and aunt Claudell, and my mother Mary Lyles who told me as a little child in Jim Crow Mississippi to hold my head high and to get all the education I could. They said that the white man had taken everything from us imaginable. But they declared, he can not take away your education so go get it. They made it known to me that though they were prohibited from getting an education that was no excuse for me. All but my mother are gone now and even she is hanging on to dear life. I thank these proud black women for sacrificing for me so that I could see a better day.
But along this journey I have so many relatives, friends and colleagues who supported me and made it known that they had faith in me. I cannot begin to tell you what you have been to me over the decades. When the devils of doubt stepped in my path you said fear not and you best keep stepping. I heard you and I tried to keep the faith. I am the product of a collective nurturing.
And speaking of dreams, Dear Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I want you to know that for me there was no one who inspired me the way you did. You stepped out boldly and eloquently and told us to rise up against injustice because though the moral universe was long it bend towards justice. I know you were not perfect but I state unequivocally, I stand in opposition to the historian, David Garrow, who wishes to destroy what you and that great movement did for our people, humanity and this world. Dorothy Cotton i am so glad I got to meet you and to touch your soul and to learn of your love and sacrifice to lift us up from a new form of slavery. Long live that peoples’ movement and forever we honor you Dr. King and all those like Ella Baker and Septima Clark who fought for all humanity. Oh and yes, thank you Dr. W. E. Du Bois for your scholarship and activism that guide us today as we confront the ugly racisms and inequalities of today.
To my friends and supporters I want you to know that I am because you are. Now the work begins. Straight ahead!