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Remembering Margaret: Dr. Margaret Taylor Goss Burrough

By Dr. Gloria Latimore-Peace

Presented by Omni-University

"I am but one, but I am one,

I cannot do everything;

but I can do something.

What I can do, I ought to do

-and what I ought to do, I will do"[1]

Our current state of affairs is putting the endurance of our minds, bodies, and spirits to one of - or as some would argue - THE most vigorous trials we have ever experienced. We, humans, are social beings and many of us are doubtful of our ability to hold out under the unnatural conditions that continue to keep us apart - especially during the holiday season. Indeed, "these are the times that try men's souls."[2] The length of time that we can tolerate these conditions while remaining right-minded and able-bodied, will depend in large measure on what we make of the situation.

Not everyone agrees that "there's light at the end of the tunnel" or even that the tunnel has an end. These persons would be identified as ''Pessimists," the Naysayers who can never find good in anything or anyone. In another group are the "Optimists" or "Pollyannas,"[3] e.g., "motivational" speakers and elected public officials who, at no time, ever seem to see anything wrong with the status quo. But, there are alternatives to these two groups, those whom we may tentatively classify as "Realists." They are the ones who look the facts squarely in the eyes and, while they acknowledge the severity of the dilemma, they can still see a "window of opportunity" in it.

I wouldn't choose to join either of these groups were it not that I recognize - at the helm of the latter one-my mentor, ANCESTOR Dr. Margaret Taylor Goss Burroughs. Dr. Burroughs was not only Co-Founder of two institutions, the Du Sable Museum of African American History and The South Side Community Art Center, she was also a world traveler. Should you encounter her anywhere in today's world, Dr. Burroughs would be certain to challenge your tendency to sit in judgment about everything while doing little or nothing about anything. In "What Will Your Legacy Be?"[4] she proclaimed:

"You are here, You are still here, alive and quick and you have time on your side. You have time to begin even now. So, get busy and do something to help somebody to improve the condition of life for people now and for those who come after...".

Although it's not easy to tell whether we are at the beginning, in the middle, or near the end of the tunnel, there can be no doubt that we are facing the "difficult days" foreseen by our ANCESTOR, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Indian novelist, Arundhati Roy, views the current dilemma through the "window of opportunity". Her assessment is that: "Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their worlds anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next."[5]

The very relevant lyrics of a song by Kenny Loggins, "THIS IS IT"![6], provides a wake-up call. This is not a drill. This, Brothers and Sisters, is the real deal! All hands are needed on deck! The " window of opportunity" to be a part of the problem or part of the solution may be closing soon. Hopefully, you are among those who will choose:

"to improve the condition of life for people now, and for those who come after"...

and to make your life a contribution…[7]

Only you can answer the questions posed by our Beloved Ancestor, Dr. Margaret Taylor Goss Burroughs: "What Will Your Legacy Be?" and "What Shall [We] Tell [Our] Children Who Are Black?"

Remember, "What [We] can do, [ We] ought to do."

If not Now, when? If not Us, who?

We invite you to view the series of episodes that celebrate the Life of Dr. Margaret Taylor Goss Burroughs on "The H3O Art of Life" television show, beginning Friday, November 4th on CANTV @ 8:30PM and continuing each Friday through November 25th. These shows will be repeated each Sunday in November, from November 6th through November 27th, @ 3:30 PM on CAN-TV, Channel 19.

Recommended Viewing


[1] [Ancestor] Margaret T.G.Burroughs. Life with Margaret: The Official Autobiography By Dr. Margaret T.G. Burroughs

[2] “The Crisis” by Thomas Paine

[3] An excessively optimistic person.

[4] “What Will Your Legacy Be?” by Dr. Margaret T.G. Burroughs

[5] “The Pandemic is a Portal” by Arundhat Roy

[6] “This Is It” Written by Kenny Loggins

[7] Op. Cit. Burroughs. "What Will Your Legacy Be?"

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