My Friend Moses

On the day that we commemorate the words and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I find myself remembering the first African-American who captured my admiration, our handyman Moses.

During those years that Dr. King led marches and boycotts, gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, and won the Nobel Peace Prize, I was a toddler with no social awareness beyond the small circle of my immediate family and those who visited our home.

Of all the non-family guests, I loved Moses the best.  I would run after him on the landing outside of our apartment and we would walk back together hand in hand.

Moses was the star of one of my earliest memories.  He was sitting at our kitchen table talking with my mother.  I crawled under the table and was tugging at the cuff of his pants.  My mother was horrified: “Jaclyn!  What are you doing?”  Of course, I just wanted to see if his legs were the same brown color as his hands and face.

One day Moses asked my mother to get him some cream from the drug store to treat his acne.  He told her that he wanted his skin to look nice for me.  It already did.  Although I was too young to learn about racial equality from Dr. King, I was fortunate to learn that brown skin is just as fine as white skin from my friend Moses.

© 2015 Jaclyn Schrier. All rights reserved.

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