Ray Taliaferro, who is not one to be easily impressed, says there is one person he has always used as a sounding board and guide.
He joined her–Dr. Raye Richardson–for a Ray on Raye session in the nation’s oldest black bookstore, Marcus Books, Sunday. Dr. Richardson is co-founder with her late husband, Julian.
Taliaferro was the first and is the longest-airing black radio talk show host on a mainstream station, breaking through in 1967. He said he resolved that every Thursday he would have a black history moment. Dr. Richardson supplied that information for years.
“She’s just brilliant,” Taliaferro mused, as they began a wide-ranging conversation. The proof was not long in coming. When he asked if she thought she would see a black president, she responded, “I’m just glad we don’t have to see him described as a son of a slave because our history doesn’t begin and end with slavery.”
So that’s the kind of insight that we can draw from. During Women’s History Month, and any other month, we need more forums where we lift up what black women have to say. First Lady Michelle Obama led by example with a dinner for distinguished women from around the country and high school young women.
Black men, particularly, do not have the luxury of patriarchy or chauvinism. President Obama is showing leadership in that arena with the creation of a White House Council on Women and Girls.
Taliaferro told of meeting its head, Valerie Jarrett, during the inauguration. Her father, Vernon Jarrett, was a co-founder of the National Association of Black Journalists with Taliaferro and five others. She’s one of a number of talented women that President Obama has placed in challenging assignments ranging from the Food and Drug Administration to the United Nations to the Environmental Protection Agency to the Domestic Policy Council.
While the media obsesses on fashion and the fitness of the First Lady’s arms, he’s setting an example to focus on their intellect and talent.
It’s worked for Ray Taliaferro for 40 years.