Niagara Gazette — I can understand my aunt’s generation feeling as they did; but, for me, not having the Alabama, Kentucky or West Virginian experience, my hope was in those who shared my community.
Many years ago, I read Russell Conwell’s book called “Acres of Diamonds,” where within a man packed up and traveled the world to find riches far greater than what he already had, only to have those whom he left behind to find those same riches in the place where he once stood. The traveler died a broken man in his quest to find that which he already had beneath his feet.
In the late 1970s upon my return from the Navy, I became involved in my community. Thereafter, along with a newly minted, African-American, Niagara Falls Police Officer, Lamar Cain, we determined ourselves to find others, like him, who would serve their community in law enforcement.
Lamar and I went knocking door-to-door in hopes of finding some who would. As we stood talking to the men who would answer their doors, oftentimes, I saw the eyes of diapered, baby boys, curiously peeping from their semi-hiding places, and wondering what was going on. That was some thirty years ago.
Lamar is now gone, and his son Carl has both replaced and exceeded him. I cannot remember the doors upon which we knocked, the fathers to whom we spoke, or the changed faces of those diapered boys.
However, I have seen the first, spring crop of a half-dozen or more who have worked with Cain, and those who have followed him onto the force. My heart is exceedingly glad to see that the seeds of their successes have found fertile ground, and there rises in the souls of Henderson, Caldwell and Smith, the summer fruits of their predecessor’s efforts.