Me, the fourth black school board member in Duluth History.

The glorious week of mild autumnal weather continues. I put another eight hours on the ladder yesterday painting under my eves. Today I’ll put in three more hours with a final coat of latex paint and then hopefully enjoy the weather the rest of the day. It reminds me of the weather in southern Minnesota when my Dad was laid to rest. It was one of those years when the fall colors popped out like mad. It was so fitting. As a kid he used to put us in the car and drive us to little Hiawatha, Kansas, which had sugar maples planted all over town to take in the Red leaves against the Blue sky.

Next year I’ll have about five weeks worth of work to finish the painting judging by the two weeks I put in this Fall to deal with the worst of the pealing paint.

I’m not counting about an hour of time I spent on the phone when it rang in my pocket and I climbed down to conduct school related conversations. The first was from one of the black folks I accosted earlier and handed my school board business card. This person had been a little skeptical when we spoke but had spoken to other African-Americans since and passed on my phone number. Additionally this person had checked with his/her father in town and had him check me out. We chatted for almost an hour. Later I got a call related to the EEAC committee meeting and had another long cordial conversation.

Nineteen years ago I helped elect Duluth’s second black school board member Mary Cameron. I wouldn’t have had the temerity to take on the task of speaking for Duluth’s black or minority population then with Mary as a more authentic representative. Today I feel like I must wrap the mantle of Bill Clinton around myself. You remember him? The nation’s “first black president.” I need to do it in case Art Johnston is removed from the school board.

After I finish this and another post I’m going to begin jotting down the details I can recall with the five encounters I’ve had with black residents so far. I added a fifth one to the list at 4:30 this morning at a gas and convenience store. I need to start keeping a record of these meetings for future reference. At some point I’ll get beyond the merely anecdotal phase even if I fall short of statistical certainty about the condition of our minorities in Duluth.

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