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  • Seanne N. Murray

And Then Death Became Part of Life


I went to an all-white prestigious high school in Westport, Connecticut called Staples.


It’s one of those schools that people know all around the country. It was a public school that was as private as public can be.


I thought only bad kids went to private school. I thought having an Olympic quality pool and track was normal.


I thought it was normal that premier athletes were also premier musicians, that art was as important as math, that we had a dark room and private music lessons, that we took SAT classes, that every single person went to college.


I thought it was normal that people with disabilities were not separated or distinguished in any way, that ramps and rails were a regular part of the school structure.


I thought it was normal that the town library was a meeting spot and that we could safely go into town on little red buses without a worry in the world.


I didn’t realize how fortunate I was or how unusual the circumstances were until I left.


When I say, “all white”, of course I’m exaggerating, but only slightly.

There was a small group of Black kids.


Most were bussed in from nearby Bridgeport and all were highly gifted.


A few of us lived in the town. I was one of them.


Being Black meant that it wasn’t perfect for us, but we had each other.


All of us connected with each other as we enjoyed and endured our high school experience.


An eternal bond was cemented.


Today, I learned that one of us passed away, Herb (Tank) Kemp.


Tank was my first real date. I went to my first concert with him, Prince, and we went to one of our proms together.


He’s survived by his true and everlasting soulmate and his young son.


Several weeks ago, my Howard University community lost Eric Powell, a friend and brother to all.


Life is short.


Who do you love?


Show them.


Tell them.


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