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Promises to keep

WILBERT A.TATUM | 4/12/2011, 4:34 p.m.

A week has already passed since the election of all our centuries. The more I squeeze and tense, the more I tense and squeeze. I have been thoroughly assured that a hoax has not been played to my present tense and that I will not wake up tomorrow morning and find that I have been had.

No matter what happens, no matter what program I am watching or what music selection I am listening to, sleep overtakes me. You will recall that I could not sleep at all a few short weeks ago when it was uncertain whether President-elect Barack Obama was winning or losing or out of it altogether.

"He be winning," Percy Sutton's old-time followers said."He gon' win," Sylvester Leach chimed in from his cabin in the sky. Nat King Cole laid back and started singing "When I Fall In Love With You." Then we knew that everything just diddy alright and honkey dory for sure. We had passed the crucial hour, and the baby had been delivered.

Then, the danger set in. Far too many people seemed too happy about Obama having this job. We began to hear how difficult it would be and how he had nothing to work with and how this was another trick on the part of white folks to give a Black man the highest opportunity in the land where he couldn't possibly succeed. Well, we decided that we can have it all. That no matter what you say, no matter what you do, we've got the job now and we might as well do something with it. Yes, I'm prepared to get up at four in the morning. Yes, I'm prepared to come home at midnight. Yes, I'm not afraid of missing lunch or staying late or being selfish or being cruel. I'm not afraid of anything anymore. And as Billie Holliday would say, "I've got my man," and he is our man, this President-elect Barack Obama, and our workday has not yet begun. We have much to do. We have many places to reach and hearts to touch and minds to change. We have the work of centuries carved out for us,as we must rise to this occasion.

Get ready, chillun, there's a great camp meeting in the Promised Land. You've not been promised a thing, but there is a land called Promise. You'll get there if you try. President-elect Obama will be with you. Sister Rosetta Thorp will be there, the Golden Gate Boys will be singing and Caruso will be singing while waiting tables. Yes, there's a great camp meeting in the Promised Land. I'm going to be there, and so are you. Ain't it gonna be wonderful? This promise is a keeper.