David C. Driskell (born June 7, 1931 in Eatonton, Georgia) is an artist and a scholar in the field of African-American art. Driskell is an emeritus professor at the University of Maryland, College Park.Read about David C. Driskell in Wikipedia
My sister was like my surrogate mother here, in Washington, with very much of the same persuasions as my mother. Even when friends came from home that I knew were more socially adaptable to the mores of the time, she would always caution me and say, "Be careful if you're going out with so and so because you know such and such a thing could happen. " It was that kind of guardianship, and concern that imprinted me.
I grew up with a sense of tolerance. I don't know that there was any talk about gender differences. It was respect for people. So when I became a professional and saw that there were a lot of differences in the sense of how people lived their lives, I became respectful of their territory, of their thoughts and their ideas, and it was never a problem for me to feel that this is my sister, this is my brother.
I think my criticism of the Pentecostal tradition that I heard with my sister's church was that it wasn't always audible. You couldn't quite figure out what was going on. And then, the people would very often do what they call speaking in tongues and I didn't know what they were saying. My father used to always say that if it can't be understood, then it's not the good news or not the gospel.
I know my grandfather drank occasionally socially, what we call "taking a sip. " And my father never touched the bottle. He condemned my grandfather for doing that, and his punishment to his father was when my grandfather came to visit him from Georgia, he would not allow my grandfather to preach in his church. Even though my classmates very often drank alcohol in my presence and they would try and get me to join in, I felt, no, I didn't need that.
Personally, I think that my father's ministry does have some effect on one. I perhaps thought I wasn't listening that well, but I could almost recite his sermons. He had the old-fashioned preaching style of chanting. He would explain a point and then there would be this pitch to excite the audience because people would eventually shout and respond to what he was saying.
There was this judgmental sense of what was good and what was bad in my father's words. You couldn't necessarily shut the people out who were not considered good. But on the other hand, as children we were told, you don't do those things, which means that you don't really mix with that crowd as much. You don't go to town on Saturday night and hang out and go to the beer parlors. Even though it was a dry county, there was plenty of moonshine and beer and liquor being brought in from other counties.
There was a young man in our community who said he wanted to be a minister, and my father was trying to mentor him in the ministry, and something supposedly happened in town. And this young man was jailed. I remember my father lamenting and saying, well, regardless of what happened, he's human; he's human like the rest of us and he deserves, to be heard and to be seen.
My students used to say, one such as Mary O'Neal, that I identified the students by their boyfriend
girlfriend relationship. That was the way I knew them and keep up with them. Mary was the girlfriend of Stokely Carmichael. She later became a fine painter of distinction and taught at the San Francisco Art Institute, and later became chairman of the Department of Art at Berkeley.