After taking my seat in a comfortably worn wingback chair, I immediately noticed a copy of Junot Diaz’s novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. My eyes lit up. Having just picked it up the week prior, I suddenly felt an imagined literary kinship with him. Appropriately, Diaz’s novel leaned up against a worn collection of liberation theology.
“How do you like Diaz’s writing?” I asked, hoping a moment of shared appreciation for words and stories would calm my nerves a bit.
One little known fact about Houston is that it was the only major city in the South to integrate nonviolently. A meeting was held in a downtown hotel with key African-American leaders -- preachers, business owners, barbers, undertakers -- and the business and political power players from Houston's white establishment. The meeting determined that Houston would integrate silently and sit-ins would end -- no newspaper articles, no television cameras. They were simply going to change the rules of the game; and they did without any violence. It was a meeting that represented how Houston politics happen: provide a room, bring together community leaders, business interests and politicians, and get a deal done. Such meetings certainly make for strange gatherings, but at critical junctures in our city's history this mixture has proven to be a winning cocktail.