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March 11, 2020

from Can Love and Manners Get Us Through? by Angela Wright

Levi Clancy, Holding My Grandmother’s Hand When
She Was 87 and I Was 26, 2017. WC CC
I didn’t become the good southern girl my grandmother wanted me to be. Instead, I became an activist for social justice and a pastor—roles she found unbecoming, especially for a woman, and more especially for one of her granddaughters. I marched, lobbied, and advocated for all kinds of things she didn’t agree with: labor rights, voting rights, immigrant rights, civil rights. As smart and independent as she was, she didn’t even agree with the notion of women’s rights. When I asked her to help me pay for seminary, she said, “No one wants to hear a woman preacher. They want a man’s voice because it sounds like God.” All this she said while writing me a check.

After seminary, I strayed even further from my roots. I started an alternative church in downtown Birmingham where Black, Brown, and White people worshipped, worked, and gathered at the table together. And I fell in love with a Black man.

Regardless of our disagreements, every time I turned into my grandmother’s driveway, I found her standing with the screen door wide open, a huge smile on her face as she called out, “Hey, Sugah!,” and walked toward me to gather me up in her arms.

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