My father was an amazing man...
Posted on June 21 2020
My father was an amazing man.
I hope that when you get to think about your dad today, the start of any story you have about him starts with those words, too.
My dad’s name was James Edwards, but he went by Ed. He passed away 12 years ago, and I think about him every day. He was just a wonderful person who lived his life with verve.
My dad was born on the North Carolina-South Carolina border in a sharecropper’s shack. He moved to the west side of Philadelphia during elementary school as part of the Great Migration, and he said that he fought his way to and from school each day. He attended college at the University of Pennsylvania and at Temple University, where he earned his degrees.
He was a machinist by trade, and student by night. He built ships at the navy yard during World War II.
He passed up an opportunity to play Negro League baseball with his friend, Monte Irvin, because he made more money working as a machinist than he could by hitting baseballs.
He became a schoolteacher and shop teacher in the Philadelphia Public School system. He worked at Germantown High, one of the most demanding educational environments in the city. He was the dean of discipline. I’m told he was pretty tough.
My father was devastated after my mother passed away, but he fought through that loss and raised my younger brother, Jared, and me.
Dad loved his grandchildren so very much.
You could write books about my dad.
When he was a young man, he danced with Billie Holiday and got to bop along with Count Basie.
As a teacher, he would take advantage of his summers and traveled around the world. He married my mother before the Supreme Court had heard the Loving case.
And, he accomplished all of this while having to navigate the oppression of Jim Crow laws any time he ventured just 15 miles south of where he lived.
Again, books could be written about this man.
But I’ll just stop right there for now, though, and let you think about your amazing dad and his amazing stories, and how much you love him.
With best wishes for all dads on Father’s Day,
Dr. Ena Hennegan
Founder & CEO • Three Daughters of the Doctor
Makers of Many Ethnicities Hair Care Products