Dawning of a Legacy
by Juan Antonio Cordova
*For a better understanding of this piece; please read my other
work: "The Ebony Chest by the Sea". It will be apparent to the
reader that I drank deeply from Dr. Kingís "I have a dream "
speech, aug. 28, 1963 to write this piece.
Scene I: In Retrospect
The legacy began many years ago as I walked by the
white seashore contemplating the sea.
A bright shinning object began to descent; it landed
not far not making a sound; it was hard and black as
the ebony tree.
A messenger from heaven commanded a task;
at first it seemed impossible for wisdom I lacked.
He gave me a mission for me and my race;
and for all other races for in God they're the same.
What was utter by the ear must not be retained;
my people are suffering and great is their pain.
As Dawn was approaching; I ran to my home;
I missed my little ones and dear Cottie my love;
She must know the secret of the chest by the sea.
Scene II: "If this is your destiny"
With some skepticism she listened at first but great
was my joy when some of her tears fell by my feet.
"If this is your destiny", she said very low, "do not
be a rebel to the mission from God".
"I know in my heart, my mind and my soul that you
have a destiny to millions untold.
I summoned my offspring to be by my side
they must remember what burns in my heart.
"I have a dream you will live in a nation where
you will not be judge by the color of your skin
but by the content of your character within".
One gave me a hug, the youngest a smile
Too young to discern their shameful denial.
"Oblivious to their color, they ran to their rooms;
the momentous decree; must I proclaim soon.
Scene III: "Retiring to my study"
Retiring to my study among old worn out books
I must write my dissertation; my kindred are doomed.
Searching for inspiration in the long night ahead
I saw an old hand sketch picture lying on my desk.
It depicted my people; fetters on their feet;
An old rusty chain was place in their neck.
Unable to contain my emotions deep within
I began to cry loud as a man with great sin.
Regaining my composure it was now past one
The pen now in my hand I began to write:
"Let freedom ring a non-violent sound
to all kinds of people; the meek and the proud.
Let freedom ring our harmonious song
To the weak and the feeble and also the strong.
Let freedom usher a great beacon of light
oppressive are our days and long are the nights.
Let freedom crush the manacles of segregation;
Uniting our voices to end discrimination.
Let freedom blossom in the land of our exile;
In the dark lonely valley; in the bank of denial.
Let freedom cash our overdue promissory note
In the bank of justice le us all cast our votes.
Let freedom ring in the ghettoes of our cities
In the ivory towers in the statute of liberty.
Let freedom ring the content of the constitution
The weapon is peace; no a senseless revolution.
Let freedom cascade as a impetuous waterfall
Standing together for divided we fall.
Let freedom blossom as lilies in the valley
Adorning our skin as a coat to ware proudly.
Let freedom fill the world with Godís righteousness
Lets write a legacy of compassion and kindness.
Let freedom echo our song of redemption
Rejoicing in peace; great is our nation.
Let freedom nit a multicolored garment
Dressing America ending the madness.
Let freedom ring as we thunder with a blast:
!Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
Scene III: "Suddenly; I heard the sound"
Suddenly I heard the sound of a loud trumpet. My study Began to shake; it seems like the entire old wooden house Was shaken to and fro as a drunkard. The sound of the Trumpet began to subside. I looked at the old watch my Father had given when I had finished my theological studies At Crozer some years ago.
It was 1:37 a.m. I was a clear night. Trying to determine what was going on; I turn to look at the window to my right, I Noticed in the wooded area the huge pine tree my grandfather had planted when he bought this property from a Negro family Moving south east because the segregation issues some years back.
In retrospect, I began to think about the experience I had had almost two decades ago with the The Ebony chest by the Sea. My recollection of the past stopped abruptly. As far as I can see I think our entire acre began to glow. I opened the window and heard the sound of a rushing wind; my study was filled with a sweet smelling fragrance. About 10 feet above our house a great cloud which was silver in appearance appeared.
The Cloud began to divide as if an invisible had had cut it. Right on The center of the two halves an angelic being appeared. It was similar yet bigger than the one which appeared to me by the sea years ago. It began to flap his powerful wings and began to move very quickly towards me. I took in startle Amazement three or four steps back. He flew right through the left side of my study without disturbing a beautiful oil portrait I have on the wall of Frederick Douglas and some small black and white pictures of Cottie and my children.Indescribable brightness was around it displaying the multicolored array of a rainbow.
My body began to shake violently and I fell to my knees, which were shaking. This angelic being must have been at least three feet from me.
Scene IV: "Fear not, little one"
"Fear not, little one", he said as I made an attempt to rise.
"Fear not, little one, Kneel only before the Great IíAM"
I sat on the old worn out floor of my study, completely speechless. I noticed he had a shiny object on his right hand.
"Fear not, little one", he said for the third time.
"Iím the bearer of glad tiding for thee and thy race and for all other races for in God theyíre the same".
By this time I had noticed that the object on his right hand was a sickle; a golden sickle. He began to move the sickle very rapidly as if his was cutting something.
"With this sickle in thy hand reap the harvest in this land"
He repeated this phrase very fast.
The curved metal blade of the sickle was large and very sharp.
It brought vivid memories of the sickles my descendant used
In the plantation not long ago; as they toil from dawn to dusk in the burning sun as slaves.
"With this sickle in thy hand reap the harvest in this landíí.
The angel extended the sickle to me I extended my right hand
To take it but because of its weight it fell to the floor making a very loud sound. With both hands now I began to swing
The sickle as if cutting something on the floor. As I swung it
I too began to swing it rapidly as if cutting something.
"With this sickle in thy hand reap the harvest in this land".
The angel began to say as though a power within me was
Moving my hands.
The angel extended his hand and took the sickle from my hands.
I began to weep uncontrollably as I looked at this being in utter astonishment.
"Fear not, little one " He said again.
"The hour is fast approaching for thy mission to begin
to suppress the oppression of being judge by thy skin.
"Thou will sow with your sickle what others have planted
Fruits of love and justice as God has commanded"
"I give the assurance it shall not be in vain
thou will finish thy task in the midst of great pain".
I made several attempts to rise to my feet; but could not.
My entire study was illuminated with a silver looking
Scene VI: "Thy redemption draweth nigh"
"Blow the trumpet; blow the trumpet; blow the trumpet in thy land;
Proclaim to the afflicted: Thy redemption draweth nigh"
"Salamu iwe yenu". The angel said.
I smiled at the angel as I knew the meaning of this Swahili
Greetings which means "Peace be with you".
I marvel to know that a visitor from the third heaven knows
So much about the affairs of man.
I try numerous time to speak to the angel, to question the
Purpose of his visit, but was unable to open my mouth. Deep engraved in my inner man; however, I knew, yes I knew.
I knew, that my birth at 501 Auburn Ave. in Atlanta, Georgia
Scene VII: "Decreed by God"
"Decreed by God" The angel responded.
I knew That in 1941 when our family moved to 193 Boulevard in Atlanta was no coincidence.
"Decreed by God", The angel said.
My freshman years at Morehouse College.
"Decreed by God".
My growing interest in theology and social issues.
"Decreed by God", He said again
It again fascinated me to know that without opening my mouth this heavenly visitor knew some of the details of my life. Yes, angels can peek at some aspects of our life; but only the Almighty in his omniscience can peer through the keyhole of our lives, be it bad or good; be it done under the sun or above the third heaven. Heaven can surely tell our stories. How many times I heard my father exhort the congregation saying that
"even the hairs on your head are numbered"; "and we know", he would continue, "that all things work together> for good to those who love God, to those that are called according to his purpose".
"all things, pleasant and unpleasant"
"for good, for our good; God is not the architect of evil"
"Called; many are called few are chosen"
and oh, yes, "purpose, a meaningful and productive life
for the benefit of all"
Indeed, indeed, Daddy King. He was right on target as usual. How great it is to know that our short journey on this earth has a God given purpose. How great is to know that each and everyone of us can be a man or a Woman or even a child of destiny? Earthen vessels with a golden treasure within. Life does have meaning.
Scene VIII: "Black outside; but golden within"
"Black outside but golden within
weak outside but strong within"
The angel made a gesture with his right hand as he moved slowly towards the pictures.
"See those portraits on thy wall
man of valor are they all"
"Frederick Douglas in his time
fought for freedom in his land"
"See those portraits on thy wall
yes thy offspring all your sons"
"Thou will pass to them thy torch
as thy legacy takes its course"
Every time the angel spoke; I listen attentively
For it was a spiritual wonder to behold.
I gradually began to discern; that something of
No small significance for me and my race must
Be unfolding before my eyes.
The angelís countenance glistens again. Every time this
Happened, I knew he was about to speak.
Scene IX: "Stride towards freedom"
"Stride towards freedom a mortal once said
be thou not discouraged ; forget thy regrets.
Though they bomb thy house be thou not afraid
Though they plunge a blade and leave thee for dead.
Stride towards freedom as an eagle in the sky
Spreading thy wings for a smoother flight.
Stride towards freedom in the wings of a dove
The Almighty bestows thee strength to love.
Stride towards freedom when thou think thou have failed
Write down thy memoir from the walls of a Jail.
Stride towards freedom; radiant star of love
Thy legacy is written not with ink but with blood"
Scene X: "I heard the sound of gun shots"
As soon as the angel finished pronouncing the word "blood", I heard the sounds of gunshots. I instinctively ducked to the Floor thinking someone outside the house was shooting at us.
"I must be loosing my mind", I though.
For the first time; I was afraid, but afraid of what of whom I was suddenly comforted by the recollection of my fatherís exhortation to the church: "Greater is he that is in you
Than he that is in the world"; "Do not fear does who can
Kill the body but can not kill the soul"
The congregation would just love the manner in which he would open his big worn out bible and guide us to numerous
Passages of the holy book.
I heard the melodious sound of birds chirping as they began to leave their nest they have made above the window of my study. I looked at the clock. It was exactly 4:35 a.m. It
Seems brighter outside the dawn of a new day was at hand.
The angelís countenance begun to shine. I turned attentively to hear the words from heaven.
Scene XI: "I M WHO I AM"
"Hundreds of years before the LORD gave thee life
a nation was birthed in the midst of a great plight
The taskmasters whip them as they toil in Goshen
But the LORD had compassion and now was His turn;
To crush the oppressors; His will must be done"
"He appeared unto Moses in the burning bush
revealing His nature as the LORD of truth".
"The angel of the LORD appeared in a flame of fire
the LORD of all flesh will unfold His desire".
"I have seen the affliction my people endured
the taskmasters fate is surely secured".
"I know of thy sufferings, thy pain and thy tears
have come down to deliver them of all of their fears"
"Who am I to go to Pharaoh, Moses said
to bring out thy people for years oppressed"
"I AM WHO I AM, the LORD quickly said
I AM the great Shepard my sheep I must led"
"Dawn is almost here and I must depart from those
which dwell in houses of clay".
The angel said as he pointed his index finger towards me.
During my studies of theology at Crozer; I learned about
The angelís hierarchy. Some are higher in rank than others. Some are nearer to God than others. We have angels, archangels, seraphim and cherubim .This is no ordinary angel. This must be an archangel .
"Come little one", He said. The door of my study opened by
itself. He made a gesture with his left hand towards the door.
As he proceeded to exit he said:
"All the portraits on thy wall man of valor are they all".
The angel led the way down the wide wooden stairs leading to
The first floor. He made a right towards my childrenís room.
He stopped in front of little Martinís room and stood in front
Of his tiny little crib. A beautiful rainbow surrounded his bed.
The colorful array glistened ; bringing vivid memories of the
Ebony chest y the sea.
The angelís countenance glistened.
"Thus saith the LORD thy God: as the rainbow
was a sign to Noah and his posterity that no
flesh would be destroyed by the destructive forces
of the waters; so shall it be for thee and thy race.
The time has downed in the history of thy race
For the destructive water of racism to subside. The
wave of racism for thee and thy race shall not be
eternal. Iím the only eternal saith the LORD thy
God. I tell thee this day some of thy brothers and
Sisters will opt to dissimilate a violent agenda.
From such, little one, turn away, turn away.
Love, Godís love poured out in the hearts of
Men; is the most powerful force in the world. When
Everything else fails love remaindeth forever.
The Eternal has showed all mortals his non-
Violent legacy in the life and death of his beloved
Son Jesus. Little one, follow thou his legacy of
Love . If thou would hearken to the voice of thy
God thou will surely be a victor.
I nodded my head in agreement although all his
Prophetic utterances was way my limited perception
Of the spiritual realm.
The visitorís of light countenance glistened.
"See thy child in his sleep
a mighty worrier shall he be.
Not with violence or a gun
But with the power of his tongue"
He extended his right wing towards his
Tiny crib. My sonís mouth began to glow.
The angelís countenance glisten.
!Behold; the LORD thy God have
gifted this child and two other the LORD
shall give thee with the golden tongue
of eloquence and persuasion. They will
also carry the non-violent legacy beyond
this tiny corner of the earth unto the
uttermost part of the globe!
He made a right turn and proceeded to our
Firstborn bedroom only a few feet away. Again
The door swung open. If you look from our
Daughterís bedroom window you will see the
Vegetable garden Cottie and I planted the last
Week of April. Lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, kale,
Spinach and our all time favorite collard green.
Every summer uninvited guest such as rabbits,
Raccoons and beavers would try to make a meal
Out of our garden. We built a three-foot wooden
Fence with some wires around it.
"Thy daughter too; but to a smaller decree
will carry the ever-glowing torch of this legacy.
A woman of substance shall she be. Her offspring
As beacons of light will illuminate the ghettoes
And the great cities with a message of hope and
I was moved when this visitor of light took
A multi-colored quilt Cottie had knitted during
Her pregnancy and cover up to her shoulders.
!What love; how caring, I thought. To think that
the vast multitudes deny God and the supernatural.
While America has engraved in her currency and
Court rooms the motto: "In God we trust". Little
Trust is evident throughout the land.
About few seven feet across was our bed-
Room. The door swung open. I follow the angel.
"A virtuous woman lay on this bed
a crown of honor upon thy head.
Adorn with Godís grace for all to see
Shall be as a balm to those who weep.
Her gentle spirit will shatter the chains
Of many who gather to lament their shame"
Come little one, the task the LORD has
commanded has come to an end. The time
of my departure has arrived.
He hurriedly exited our bedroom. Unable
To keep up with his speed, I ran the long corridor
Leading to the back of the house. He went through
The door. Before I had a chance to grab the door
Knob the door opened. A gentle cool breeze blew
In my direction. The angel began to flap his power-
Full wings. Amazingly, although I felt a powerful
gust of air all around me; non of the tender flowers
growing all over was disturbed by it. A beautiful
rainbow encompassed the clear blue sky. This is the
first time I saw a rainbow without any rain. A Huge
cloud appears it split open right in half and a giant
rusty chain. Each link of the chain must have been
at least ten feet in diameter. I t was similar to the one
depicted on the portrait on my desk. I counted the links;
eight in number. A huge hand dark in completion appeared
holding the same sickle I had seen previously.
"With the sickle in thy hand reap the harvest in the
land". The angel began to say. Every time the angel
said that the hand began to swing the sickle until all eight links
had crumble to the ground making a loud noise.
I also noticed that the hand was similar to my right hand in appearance. What can all this mean? I pondered.
"If one denotes unity as the Eternal God is one
and if man was fashioned the sixth day
out of the clay of the land
and if seven denotes spiritual perfection
what is the meaning of the chain crumbled in the sky?
Eight links on a chain
A sickle in thy hand
End the shame, shatter the chain
End the tears end the pain
Many colors all the same.
Eight denotes a new beginning; a new commencement for thy race
As eight person began all over when humanity was erased;
Noah and all His kindred even the animals had more sense;
In pair of two they entered by the LORDíS commandments.
"Salamu Iwe yenu, little one" he said.
I raised my right hand and wave at him as he made his ascend.
Within seconds he reached the split-opened cloud. The cloud
Began to close. I heard the sound of a powerful thunder and
Saw flashes of lightening in the horizon. I heard the sound of
A cock crowing. It was 6:08 am and I was awakened to a new