Posted January 19, 2009

Brookdale Senior Living, one of the companies Senior Living Experts works with sponsored a event called "Brookdale's Experiences of a Lifetime Program."  Residents were given the opportunity to submit a dream or experience they would like to have fulfilled.

Alfred Bouey, a resident at the Holley Court Terrace in Oak Park won the experience of attending the Inauguration of the first African American president in the history of the U.S.

Mr. Bouey remembers growing up in the south where everything was segregated.  He can recall the days of slavery and this grandparents who were whipped and beaten had the scars to prove it. "When I say Barack Obama come out to make his acceptance speech, I started crying and never stopped.  I still don't believe it to this day that he was elected President of the United States." said Bouey.  "I never dread this day would happen in American history."

Mr. Bouey's history is interesting which is another of the many reasons I love working with seniors.  The history, the stories, the wisdom.  I learned that because Mr. Bouey's mother worked hard, he was able to attend school.  After graduation from high school, he went to Arkansas A & M for Negroes only.  He was then drafted into the Segregated Army.  Because he was one of the only college-educated me there, he quickly moved up the ranks and was promoted to Sargent.

Upon returning to the South after serving in the Army, he found that nothing had changed.  Segregation was still a major fact of life, and there were no jobs for him.

In 1946 with $10 in his pocket, he moved to Chicago – but with no place to go. Then President Truman opened the opportunity for African-Americans to work in the government and Mr. Bouey took and administrative job with the Army Procurement Division.

In 1954 he was part of the first group of African-American men to become Chicago Police Officer.

For Bouey, President-Elect Obama represents "hope".  When Obama was elected, it was not a dream come true because I never dreamt it would happen," said Bouey.  "But I sure 'hoped' it would."  "To see the inauguration of President Obama will be the greatest moment of my life."

How can you not love that story?  Happy Inauguration Day!

Leave a Reply