Past and Present: A Family's American Creed

Posted by Tekyira M. Michigan

This short story is about how a family's decisions in the past has shaped the present generations-- and how it's connected to America's changes through time.

Past and Present

A Family’s American Creed by Tekyira Marshall

1946- Patricia A. Marshall, age 6, made the long journey from Birmingham, Alabama to Detroit, Michigan with her mother and father by car. They craved a new life away from the hostile segregated culture of the south, into the bustling and building city full of job opportunities. The war had ended only a year before and life was becoming better. Life would be better.

My great grandmother Patricia, in my eyes, is a pioneer of her own time. She worked for Chrysler shortly after graduating from Northwestern High School and never looked back. She worked there for 32 years before she fell ill. As a young child, I aspired to be much like her. She was my role model.

Little did I know, I was already much like her. My family have always been travelers; going where the wind blows. I have family in almost every state. I never questioned it because i always knew deep down inside that the answer is in my DNA. What i should question, though, is why is my family similar to those of different dreams, religions, and race? My other classmates also have families that moved from different states -- even countries.

America is the place for change and new opportunities. It may never be completely fair or equal but change is going to come. America only gets better despite us having to go through the worst. My family, like many others, seeked out change for a better life for future generations. Many people still do this today.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows worldwide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

-Emma Lazarus, 1883

Though my mother’s side was already in the united states, my father’s great grandmother O’Tia came from Argentina at 17 years old with her husband. America is a diverse place full of different culture, religion, and opinion. That is what makes us so amazing as one. America is great because we are free. Free to express ourselves. Free to be ourselves. Free to be unique. This is what I believe that our America creed should be about. The unity of different people. We the people, are great because of our diversity and our diversity wouldn't exist if our ancestors didn't make the hard choices for us. 

Published on Jul 22, 2019
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Writing Our Future: American Creed is part of the National Writing Project’s family of youth publishing projects, all gathered under the Writing Our Future initiative.

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