This month began with the anniversary of the initial Greensboro Sit-in, Feb. 1, 1960, for me as a preteen male a big deal, as the Greensboro Four redefined heroism. The major prompt in me from those early civil rights activities was “anger on behalf of ...” Didn’t matter if I was different in appearance or background, exploitation on any level, whether toward an individual or group, was indefensible, past, present or future, and my activism emerged, economy of thought and action with consonance toward unity. It was a shared vision, articulated with insight and a raucous joy in our music, the high point, the summer of ‘67, “The Summer of Love,” heralded by what became the Beatles’ signature, “All You Need is Love.” It functioned as a cognitive centering device, brought us collectively into a space of stillness and effortless consciousness. My intrinsic, authentic values, my unique identity, could, as Vincent Pizzuto writes, “neither stand apart from the greater identity nor make any sense without it. Nor could I look accurately on anyone or anything apart from this fuller picture.”
Our founders recognized that as the democratic instinct, what I’ll honor on Presidents’ Day as a beneficiary of the American Enlightenment.