Twenty-five years ago, a New Carlisle teenager wrote an essay that appeared alongside one written by the now-famous singer and Springfield native John Legend.
Andrew Holliday, who was around 18 at the time, placed second in the 1994 “McDonald’s Black History Makers of Tomorrow’’ essay competition. Legend, who was 16, placed first. Both essays were published in the Dayton Daily News. Holliday, now a lawyer, remembers a young Legend as being “very mature for his age.”
Both teens wrote of their plans to have an impact on black history. Legend’s essay was republished in the Springfield News-Sun on Feb. 25.
Holliday, 42, spent six years of his adolescence in New Carlisle. A graduate of Tecumseh High School, he later attended college at Washington University in St. Louis. Holliday and his family live in Atlanta where he practices litigation and personal injury law.
Holliday said having an impact on black history is “a continuous effort” of his. “It’s a lifestyle,” he said. “It’s not really a conscious effort, so much as it is an attitude and a willingness to see people for who they are.”
Holliday regularly represents minorities in employment discrimination cases as part of his law practice.
“Dealing with racial issues was and still is a very relevant topic,” Holliday said. “Living in Atlanta has given me a lot of opportunity to work with a large diversity of people and I enjoy doing so.”
Holliday said he still believes in the ideals he wrote about 25 years ago. Holliday said race relations have significantly improved.
“There are still problems... but I think that we’ve certainly made progress in the past 20 years,” Holliday said. “We have had a black president since the time I wrote that essay, and I think that shows how far we have come as a nation.”
Like Legend, Holliday predicted almost exactly what he would be doing today. Here’s a copy of his essay:
ANDREW HOLLIDAY’S ESSAY: BLACK FUTURES AND WHITE DIRECTIONS: LET US SHAPE TODAY’S TOMORROWS
The spectrum of vision through which we view the world, in regard to comparative quality, is a cylinder which is line with social standing, athletic capability, and intellectual potency. I realize and graciously accept these qualities in black people as holding exactly the same potential as is distilled within white people. This cylindrical spectrum both illustrates and emphasizes that each of these virtues are distinctly unique and none enjoys overwhelming leverage over the other. I will make an impact on black history by possessing enough intelligence to achieve the fulfillment of the dreams of civil rights activists by joining hand in hand with them before God and realizing, at least upon a personal basis, the authenticity of black equality within the traditionally dominant white society.
In order to make an impact on black history as a white member of society, it is imperative for me to realize the message that has been delivered repeatedly by black social movement leaders. I must realize that the potential social standing of black individuals are on equal platforms with white individuals. I must study the past and realize the magnitude of the sacrifices made by people who led the war against racism or be “condemned to repeat it.” I will make an impact on black history by possessing the intelligence to realize the equality of social character between white and black people.
In contrast to previous times, black people create a large percentage of the professional athletic population. I must realize the mountains which have been climbed in order for the black people to reach this goal. I must possess enough intelligence to have the proper respect for people who have conquered such a mission. This will affect the future of black history by leading to a better relationship between white and black people.
There is no difference between the intellectual potency of white and black people. This realization, shared with fellow white people, alone could create a monstrous revolutionary effect on black history. The capability for such a revolution resides within each individual. I am the type of individual who likes to transform capabilities into accomplishments. It is my commitment to the future of black history to inspire this revolution and develop the idea that white and black people are absolutely equal, specifically in the matter of intellectual potency.
White people have individuals such as Thurgood Marshall and Jesse Jackson making a distinct impact on their history. It is entirely possible that with the strenuous encouragement for fellow white people to accept the idea of social, athletic, and intellectual equality of black and white people, I can create an impact on black history comparable to the 60’s civil rights activists. If you combine these three virtues of human existence, and develop these ideas within white people, the future revolutionary effect it would have on black history would contain infinite ramifications. An impact such as this on the future of black history is not only something to be proud of, but something which I shall be honored to do.