African-American history has played an integral role in the shaping of politics, economics, and culture in the United States. Growing up, how did you learn about the accomplishments and struggles of African Americans? Were you in a classroom? Reading a book? Talking with relatives or friends? How has your understanding or knowledge of African-American history changed and/or developed over time? What do you think is the most effective way to pass along this rich and growing history to future generations?

Kathleen O’Connor Wang

When I was a freshman in college I took speech as an elective and found Sojourner Truth’s speech,”Ain’t I a woman?” I chose this for my speech. It was such an elegant argument for equality. My belief in equality began when I first questioned as a Catholic child it was expected I should marry another Catholic when I grew up and we belonged to the one true church.
This posed a problem for me. Does that mean Catholics were better than others? I didn’t think so. Throughout my life I rejected anything that set others aside as not good as. Racism didn’t make sense if God created all of us. It doesn’t make sense to me now as an atheist. But it seems so contrary that people of faith particularly Christians could have this view considering Christ’s message and lessons of love and acceptance of all. I took his message away with me when I left the church. I married a Chinese man raised Buddhist who was an agnostic. I started a family that now includes, white, black, Asian,
Native American, Irish, Nigerian, Taiwanese, Filipino, Norwegian, Mexican.
I spread the word. My family reflects the world and I’m great grandma. GGK. Henry Louis Gates so wonderfully brings us history, family and promise to our country.