My Day

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About My Day


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Some years ago, my teenage grandson Josh called a few days after working on his first job handling antiques. "Nini, guess who came into the store today!" Without hesitation, he continued with emphasis. "John Wiley Price came in today looking for African Art. I walked right up to him, introduced myself and said 'Mr. Price, can I help you find something?' He was dressed in workout stuff. He asked me a lot of questions. And, on the way over to the art section, I told him I am Ester Davis' grandson."

While my grandson is taking a breath, I interjected, "Oh, yeah, he is an avid art lover." The second time Price came into the antique shop, he bought Josh a cap, and I listened to every detail of that visit several times. That story and so many others can be recounted endlessly about Price, the man I know. Caring, working, strengthening, and with a proven record.

I have always had access to Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price. What is profound is that so, too, have all the constituency in Dallas County. He is a beloved statesman, an African American gentleman who knows who he is working for. His worth on this earth at this time in history has earned him a place of distinction in the hearts and minds of many, especially the voters in District Three, who have elected him for seven terms to office. I am among the many thousands who think his corruption trial, with its purported evidence, is the ultimate witch hunt of a public servant.

Every time I pass 8th Street and Corinth, I am reminded of a younger JWP with the Progressive Voters League office, which was housed in the northwest corner of that intersection. That lot is now empty. In the late 70s, Price was a rising force in the organization. He was articulate, engaging, fearless, with a real quick wit that propelled the importance of the black vote, the benefit of promoting people that look like him.

Thirty years later, he is the same. The Progressive Voters League was about getting the vote out, grassroots style. JWP, before arriving on the national stage as a well informed county commissioner, was about, aboard and around his people, acting on his beliefs, listening, passionately advocating. He was a concerned citizen that did not miss much of the monumental happening in his space post civil rights years. Even in the early days, JWP was focused, relentless, always making the establishment uncomfortable with uncommon, but needed, acts of courage for his district.

His greatest gift to his people is surely his literacy zeal. Reading habits are such strong predictors of a wide array of verbal skills and analytical thinking. In my 2014 interview with JWP, he reiterated again: "I read everything." Price was known to order up to 10 books a week from Black Images, a former local bookstore full of rare and poignant books located for years in the Wynnewood Shopping Center.

A lot of people have possibly forgotten, but Dallas County, Texas, had unprecedented action and change we believed in before the millennium. We had JWP. Price had causes to challenge. And Price had people, priests and pastors from everywhere on his side, warriors, domino players, presidents, nurses, truck drivers, longshoreman, maids, ditch diggers and indian chiefs. Newspapers and news stories circulated nationally and internationally about JWP and his unselfish commitment to justice-for-all. And now, we come to this place. But the good news is allegations are not indictments. The government has to provide the proof. Innocent until proven guilty, even in Dallas. Let the process work.

Ester Davis is an award winning writer. She can be reached at www.esterday.com, or 214.376.9000. Find the original story on the Dallasnews.com.


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