The first teacher who truly inspired me was a fifth grade teacher named Mr. Lesko; no, he wasn't Black but he became a father figure to me by saying this to my mother: “She is capable of doing above average work. She doesn't realize her potential: she's quite smart.” From that moment on, I became his shadow and he inspired me to learn. The second teacher was a woman named Mrs. Mills who told me I was a brilliant literary analyst and writer. I had her in both the 11th and 12th grades for Advanced Placement English. She is the sole reason I went to college. From a historical standpoint the individuals who have motivated me to delve into American History (African American History) are the "heavy-hitters" of history: David Blight, Jason Opal, Graham Hodges and James Oakes as well as Erica Armstrong Dunbar and Manisha Sinha. Yes, I have actually studied with all of them and continue to do so. I try to teach my students that education is lifelong and one never stops learning: I learn something new every day. Case in point: Ebenezer Bassett was the first African American Ambassador (to Haiti) under Grant. I learned that yesterday!
Ruth Terry Walden, Esq., is a teacher and practicing attorney. She has taught in Stamford, CT for 15 years.