November 3, 2008

Esau Jenkins and the 2008 Elections

Esau JenkinsAs many Americans prepare to go to the polls tomorrow, I’d like to livicate this post to Esau Jenkins, a civil rights leader in South Carolina and founder of the Progressive Club, "which encouraged local African Americans to register to vote."

I never met Mr. Jenkins, but I learned a lot about him when I attended an educational leadership workshop in South Carolina. Our table captain told us about the civil rights movement in South Carolina and about the work of Esau Jenkins in St. John’s islands and his founding of citizenship schools.

What stuck with me, however, were the words of our table captain when the topic of conflict in the workplace came up. When I seemed to suggest giving up, he looked at me and told us the story of Esau Jenkins and concluded with these words:

As a leader, you may think you have it tough. But every time you think of quitting or giving up, I want you to think of Esau Jenkins. They tried to kill him, but he kept on going. I can bet you, whatever opposition you face as a leader in your workplace, nobody is going to try and kill you. Keep going.

I won’t say that since then I have not sometimes said to myself, “Why bother?” But I will also say that the moment the thought entered my mind, the memory of Esau Jenkins and my table captain come back to me.

So give thanks to Esau Jenkins and all the civil rights leaders. For whatever the outcome, you never gave up, never lost faith, and this is why we can vote tomorrow.



Anonymous said...

u r blog Is very nice

Geoffrey Philp said...

Thanks, Jacob!