To the editor:
There is a celebration in Oberlin this weekend worthy of at least a moment’s note.
Oberlin College inaugurates its first black president and only its second female in its history. America’s founding fathers some 250 years ago were men of towering courage and intellect; but they saw no need to free blacks or compensate Native Americans fairly, if that had been possible. Nor did they perceive the wrong inflicted upon white women by subjugating them. And just a bit over 150 years ago, the nation’s leaders had not learned enough to correct those earlier wrongs.
However, the founding fathers of Oberlin College did take an amazing stance becoming the first college to admit women and blacks. Oberlin College’s celebration today is one that transcends all borders and requires us all to be participants. President George Washington knew the importance of freedom and liberation for his times and his people. Abraham Lincoln came to understand that those freedoms he himself wanted depended so much on compromise and unity.
We have the advantage today of knowing that we can never be truly free if we do not work for the freedom of all others in the world. Our dreams grow as we welcome all others to be a part, to accept responsibility, and to embrace diversity in all its manifestations. Oberlin College was and remains one of the greatest colleges because of its celebration of hard work, dedication, and openness.
All humans must join in not only on special occasions but also in our daily lives, reflecting kindness, searching for leaders who embody inclusion, yearning for a more just and liberated world.
Booker C. Peek