Black History Today: Keith B. Wheeler, sharing his message of H.O.P.E.

This post is part of an ongoing Black History Month series written by Marcus Harden, a pillar of the South Seattle community and a truly unsung hero, as he honors the living legacy of Black history in his neighborhood and beyond, and recognizes the people who are shaping the future.

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By Marcus Harden


“We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It’s cliche to quote one of the greatest minds of our time during this part of the year. As Maya Angelou says, though, if you’re going to teach, you’ve got to live your teaching.

One of the people who inspires infinite hope and lives his teaching is Keith B. Wheeler. Before people were selling books about the power of vulnerability, Keith was baring his soul to communities, students, families and his own family. Willing to be a perpetual example of what hope means, even when hope was all he had left.

From the streets of Seattle that many don’t even know exist, to finding himself at Washington State University (the one mistake we can’t forgive him for 😂), to becoming a teacher on the rise back home in the neighborhoods he walked, realizing that there was more and a call to his life.

He now lives in the hope that he espouses, traveling the country and giving to others the gift that has been given to him, never stopping short of acknowledging his own flaws and blemishes, while making sure to point out that it's those things that make us unique.

Yet what shines brightest to me in this champion for change is his commitment to his sons, his commitment to constantly evolving and searching himself and doing that open to the world. I respect those quiet conversations when the crowd murmurs outside that just reflect on how far he’s come and yet how much further he wants to go. Continually honoring his past, walking in his present and paving the future.

I respect Keith for who he is. I respect him more for the man he aspires to be, and that, among many other reasons, is why Keith B. Wheeler is Black history, today.