It is Black History Month in the U.S.A., a month to reflect on the history, achievements, and contributions of black people.

Henrietta, a black woman, and her two grade-school-aged children routinely visited Miss Catherine. Miss Catherine was a black woman in her 90s.

Henrietta’s kids thought Miss Catherine was a wonder. They could hardly believe that someone so old could be so lively.

Miss Catherine played card games with them, and she occasionally got up and danced for them, much to their amusement. Henrietta’s kids loved Miss Catherine, and Miss Catherine loved them.

Miss Catherine always told the kids stories about her life and events that occurred in America. She told them that her grandparents had been slaves, but the 13th Amendment ended slavery on paper when it was ratified in 1865.

She told the kids stories that had been passed down to her by her mother and stories about the black people involved in gaining civil rights for black people.

She wanted the kids to be proud of their people. She also named the presidents that had signed civil rights bills and/or were in office at the time Amendments were ratified.

Miss Catherine told the kids that the Republican Party started in 1854 and had opposed the expansion of slavery; that it had been the first major U.S.A. political party to accept black folks even though “they were not accepted like white folks.”

One of Henrietta’s kids asked Miss Catherine if that meant she was a Republican.

A scowl crossed over Miss Catherine’s face.

“No,” she said sharply, “I was a Republican for historical reasons, but thing have changed. As far as I’m concerned, it is now the Reflublican Party. R-e-f-l-u-b-l-i-c-a-n, and I stress f-l-u-b.”

Miss Catherine continued with this quote: “Every few years the oppressors allow the oppressed to vote for their oppressors.” (V. Lenin, 1870-1924; Russian communist revolutionary politician and political theorist).

Henrietta’s kids waited for Miss Catherine to say more, but she did not, and with the look that Miss Catherine had on her face, the kids dared not ask her for more.

Henrietta quickly suggested that they play cards.

Peggy Tarr

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...