Imagine you are driving your car, and suddenly you get a call from someone you do not know asking if you’d like to meet President Barack Obama. Well, Moton Museum Board of Directors Member Joy Cabarrus Speakes does not have to imagine that scenario. It actually happened to her.
At first she said she thought it was someone’s idea of a practical joke. The person calling from the Democratic National Committee said, no, it was not a joke. They said they were calling on behalf of Organizing for America, a get out the vote initiative. Would she like to meet the President at an upcoming town hall he would be holding in Virginia? Joy said there was no question that she would love to meet him. The caller explained that there would be a security clearance and a few other details, but that they would get back to her. After the phone call Joy says she was in a little bit of a haze, not sure if she was actually going to meet President Obama.
But on Tuesday, October 12 Joy was on her way to George Washington University to participate in the town hall meeting. “The room was filled with supporters of Organizing for America,” she explained. Jeremy Bird, the deputy director of Organizing for America was the moderator, and he introduced former Virginia Governor and current DNC Chair Tim Kaine who was at a home party being videoed live from out of state. Similar home parties were going on simultaneously all over the country. When President Barack Obama arrived at the town hall meeting, the energy spiked. The participants were thrilled to hear and see him. He took questions via Skype, phone, Twitter, and from some of those who were present.
Joy Cabarrus Speakes said, “For me it was an experience I will never forget and feel so gratified to have had the opportunity to be a part of the town hall meeting.
“As I sat there, it took me back to April, 23, 1951 sitting in the Robert R, Moton High School auditorium listening to 16 year old Barbara Johns who convinced all of the students to walk-out to protest the overcrowded schools, tar paper shacks, inferior conditions, and an equal opportunity in education.” Joy also reflected on the 13 year struggle with Massive Resistance in Prince Edward County when the board of supervisors closed the schools.
“And now, there I was sitting at a town hall meeting with the 44th President of the United States who is African American. There is Divine Intervention and God is Awesome.”
Click below to view the video of the Town Hall at George Washington University.