Thank you for your humble and eloquently stated life experience. You prove(d) to be a human becoming while others surrounding you were not comfortable with overcoming their fears and the ignorance supporting such. Your individualism is admirable in so many ways.
Even though I grew up near Malcolm X's and Whitney Young's birthplace, I was not old enough nor encouraged by my 'influencers' to pay close attention, while these civil rights advocates became known internationally. At the same time, I was fortunate to not be taught blatant prejudice and had an easier time than you did with developing common sense towards these matters.
As we focus towards and celebrate the similarities among humans vs. keeping "blinders" of ignorance in place, we are more often experiencing a return to the "melting-pot" which birthed this country. Accept with more inclination towards equal footing for the majority and eventually, hopefully all.Connecting-to-the-Value-of-Why 2005-2008 ©