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.
“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word 'love' here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace - not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”
- James Baldwin
By Marcus Harden
The narrative rarely connects the words Love and Black Men, together. Love in the true agape and philo sense has been the cornerstone of the Black community. It is shown through time, it’s is shown through living your values and it is shown through example (among others).
When it comes to time, not many spend more time perfecting their craft and their profession like Dwayne Reed. While “young,” he’s wise beyond his years and lives, sleeps and breathes creating a better environment and better world for his students.
Whether it’s finding unique ways to educate and teach them, through traditionally unconventional ways. Or whether it’s through continually seeking out the wisdom of others to better his practice. Or whether it’s being continually vulnerable and being open to critique and to become better, he exhibits the type of love that many of us could hope to attain.
When it comes to love through the living of values, Timothy Reese sets and often times raises the bar. Upon meeting him, you’re greeted with a welcoming handshake or quite possibly a bear hug. Within moments, you know that he’s a man of integrity, faith and honesty who values hard work.
Tim’s greatest value is in family. Every movement he makes and every breath he takes is in service and honor to his wife and incredible sons. Tim constructs homes for an occupation, which is a fitting metaphor for how he chooses to love.
His heart and passion for others extend beyond any walls he may build, whether employing those who need a first or second chance, coaching golf because the school needs a coach, giving an encouraging word or getting in shape in under a week to run or ride for causes like homelessness and cancer.
Tim builds houses, but wherever he is, he makes others feel as if they never left home.
When thinking of love through example, Gary Ladd Sr. and his legacy embody that. A legend on the court, his greatest example lives in the Ladd name. Many people speak about what they want to leave behind, yet you know it’s effective when each person you touched embodies the very things you were about.
Wisdom. Knowledge. Patience. Love. Honesty. Empathy. All things that Gary Ladd exuded. Upon first meeting him at the age of 10, he was the first man I ever remember meeting and thinking “cool and classy.” His welcoming smile and genuine nature never spoke to how big of a star and legend he truly was.
That example lives on in his children, his grand children and just the mere mention of his name. Beliefs withstanding, Gary Ladd lives on in those who had the privilege to know him, and even in those who didn’t.
All of these men are examples of what love is: selfless and unconditional. All of these men have made their families, communities and the world better, and this among many reasons is why they are Black history, today.