As I sit in North Carolina and check out AlbanyHerald.com, I have to frown on my great city. Regardless of my travels, I'm so proud to tell individuals that I'm from Albany, Ga. However, as I read the article titled "Fighting for his father's legacy" (March 25), I sit in dismay with the majority of reactions to Mr. Johnnie Johnson.
I applaud Yaz for standing up for his father and wanting his memory to continue beyond the mental capacity of those in that time. You see, Mr. Johnnie Johnson was my uncle and I, as well, didn't realize his zeal for making a better life for himself, those who work with him and future generations until my adult years. The very reason may be because my Uncle Johnnie, or Bru to some, never really mentioned his heroic antics. He was a man full of life. He was a man of integrity and courage.
I conclude from my research that throughout the 1960s, blacks who worked for the city still faced separate and unequal working conditions: salaries lower than those of white employees doing the same work, separate restrooms and water fountains in employee facilities, even separate coffee pots. In the spring of 1972, my Uncle Johnnie Johnson led about 260 African-American sanitation workers and employees of the Water, Gas & Light departments on a general strike. The strikers demanded better pay, fair hiring practices and an end to workplace segregation. Shortly thereafter, my Uncle Bru had to leave All-Benny because of numerous death threats to himself and his family. Upon his return, he was compelled to open a barbershop because he could not find employment within the city. I will let you ponder on the reason for that.
To those that state that their mothers or fathers have done great things for the city and the country, I ask that you adhere to one of my favorite quotes from Mahatma Gandhi: "You must be the change you want to see in the world." Use your voice and vigor to have them acknowledged if you believe they are worthy of such. Don't ridicule Yaz because his stance for his dad is unwavering.
I agree that my uncle should have a key foundational structure in All-Benny named after him, not some mere water fountain which would only be a faint representation of appeasement. I say name a building after him, but also teach his significance to the Good Life City. This will allow upcoming generations to take pride in Albany, Ga.
P.S. I'm becoming a little homesick. Can I get two chili/cheese Jimmie's without onions and a Grape Nehi?