— The News Courier encourages letters to the editor. Submissions should be no more than 400 words and should include a name, address and telephone number for verification. Submissions that do not meet requirements are subject to editing. Send letters by noon on Thursdays to P.O. Box 670, Athens, AL, 35613, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greatness in Athens
One of the great faults of mankind is the belief that his perceptions represent truth. I see this phenomenon in daily conversations with some people in Athens. Not all but some.
I even read it in some of the letters to the editor of this newspaper; this falsehood that since they perceive it to be true, it must be. In reality nothing is further from the truth.
In recent days I have been privy to conversations where the overriding perception is that once Trinity High School closed, the African-African community in Athens descended into a kind of hellhole fueled by drugs. Again, perception is not reality.
Are drugs a problem in our community? No more than anywhere else in Athens. If you perceive that drugs are not a problem in the neighborhoods of the big houses, then again, your perception does not represent reality.
Communities are defined by the people who inhabit them and outstanding people have always lived in the African-American community of Athens. In the next few weeks, I hope to fill the letters to the editor page with “positive stories” about the accomplishments of some these individuals.
In 1992, while living in Germany, I wrote a series of letters to the editor that became the basis of a popular News Courier series called Trinity Profiles. In those letters, I wrote about the accomplishments of citizens from the African-American community of Athens who had a profound impact upon the world. Many of those same type citizens are still living in the community and are still impacting the world, including Dr. Flora Townsend, psychologist; Mrs. Celestine Bridgeforth, educator, archivist and descendent of two noble families; James Lucas, Athens school board member and one-time president of the board; Robert Malone, retired master sergeant and meteorologist; Billy King, who defended America’s honor in Vietnam; Shirley Higgins, retired educator and business owner; and Ollye Ward, business owner.
Our community is filled with outstanding Americans and I hope that I can write well enough to tell their story.
The formative years of my life were spent in this community and I know its strength. I also know that false perceptions of reality can never dilute that strength.