“You can’t just look at your past, sometimes you have to question it, in order to learn where you are going.” My grandma said these words to me as she handed me a history textbook. When I was little, she babysat me, and I would ride with her on her Yveddi bus routes. She would bring me history books to read because she could not give me her romance novels. Most of the history books she gave me were on African American history, the civil rights movement, and her favorite president John F. Kennedy. I was ten when I began reading these books and some I didn't understand so of course I began to read more and ask questions to my grandma and even some of her passengers, who were in their sixties or older. One of her passengers, Mrs. Barbara, told me stories of the civil rights movement, specifically the Sit-In in Greensboro. Two of her cousins participated in the movement. They were not part of the main four, but they were participants of the movement, and she herself experienced the atmosphere of that time. I loved listening to her anecdotes. It felt as if I was there. She did not hold back any details, even the cruel ugly ones of the hardships African Americans faced even in our small town. Mrs. Barbara was an example of embracing and understanding your past, your culture and your history. I learned at a young age that these firsthand accounts were a lot different from what you read in books and a lot more interesting. My grandma also participated in protests and marches. In 2011, my senior year of high school, my grandma and I went to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. It was a great trip and an amazing experience. I decided that when I went off to college in a few months I would major in history. While at NC State, I have researched the civil rights movement. I have taken multiple classes that covered the civil rights movement. My grandma's love and passion for history is one thing she passed down to me that I cherish the most. Ever since she handed me that first history book, I have had a desire to study history, to learn about our past, specifically the Civil Rights movement. There are so many things about our history that I don't understand. My grandma ignited my passion to teach not only myself but others as well about our history. She taught me that in order to look forward, sometimes we must look back.
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