We may all have one or more during our lifetime, and often they move us to alter our lives, view old beliefs in a new way, and/or create new perspectives on our pasts.

I recall an epiphany I had when in 1964 as a young reporter I travelled to Atlantic City, New Jersey for the Democratic National Convention.

I had press credentials, so I could wander in and out of the convention center, interview folks who I thought might have insight to the goings on playing out in the backrooms of power, and eat and drink all I wanted at the hospitality suites hosted by political bigwigs.

One evening, I saw a large group of African-Americans assembling on the boardwalk, and since my interest was piqued, I meandered over to see what was going on. The crowd kept increasing in numbers as I tried to figure out why they seemed to be upset.

A man with a large camera strapped to his back brushed past me while making his way toward the center of the assembled group. When I got a glimpse of his press badge, I thought, well, he must know what’s happening, so I grabbed his coat tail and followed him into the belly of the ever-increasing mayhem.

Quickly I learned this was a protest being led by a delegation from Mississippi who were attempting to be named as delegates to the convention. They were opposing the Mississippi Democratic Party delegates which at the time allowed participation only by whites, even though African-Americans made up 40 percent of the state population.

As the crowd grew the mass of humans began moving toward the convention center to form a blockade. Because I was caught in the middle of a crush of people, I threw my arms up hoping I wouldn’t be suffocated or trampled by this group singing protest songs and waving signs of dissent.

I felt out of control, and realized I had a sign in my hand, and was stumbling as though being dragged by a current of bodies.

As we came to the convention center’s entrance, my journalism ‘buddy’ appeared by my side, grabbed my arm and we were admitted to the convention lobby although no one else in the crowd was allowed in.

As I stood separated from the demonstrators I realized my sandals provided no protection to my feet, and I knew at least one of my toes had suffered acute damage.

Reflecting on that night, I had two epiphanies: one was the power of peaceful protest against discrimination, since this was one of the public campaigns that brought about the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. 

The other epiphany was the need to purchase some steel toe shoes for such affairs.


11 thoughts on “Epiphanies

  1. Amazing powerful recounting! Epiphany – Such a time that was and 2022 we “Afro-Americans” in America are still fighting for Voting Rights after the SCOTUS cut down the VRA of 1965. And I am happy to part of this WP family with so many stories and life experiences!


    1. I would like to say we have come a long way in banishing discrimination, but sadly, the gains seem to become minimized …2 steps forward followed by a movement to stop forward motion. I am sorry, saddened, and frustrated by our inability to embrace our diversity.

      Liked by 1 person

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