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Your Turn: George Jefferson

From The Jeffersons, created by Don Nichol and Michael Ross
Nominated by Jeffrey Alexander Brathwaite

Considering your question on influential American fictional characters, I think of George Jefferson, of the TV show, The Jeffersons.

As a young Black boy growing up during the 70s in South Bronx, I didn't have many role models. But in George Jefferson I witnessed weekly the fortitude and drive of a successful Black businessman.

In a time where pimps and denim were all the rage, I marveled at this endearingly brazen Manhattan penthouse-dweller who owned a dry cleaning chain and had a preference for smart 3-piece suits.

George had a loving relationship with his wife, only wanted the best for his son, and revered his mother. When confronted with racism he never backed down.

George Jefferson was the reason I carried a briefcase to grade school every day. I was teased when I walked down the block with my black Samsonite, but I didn't care. George did, and so could I.



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I envision your walking to school with a briefcase and I think it must have been such a lovely sight to behold. I hope you haven't lost your resolve to follow your principles regardless of what others may think or say!

Sent by annette robbins | 8:44 PM | 2-1-2008

Wow that's profound, I never really paid attention to the example he was setting during that era.

Sent by Janiene Hines | 11:11 AM | 2-5-2008

Seeing George Jefferson through your eyes is so refreshing. I'd never thought about him that way and you're absolutely right.

Sent by Peggy Duncan | 6:17 PM | 2-5-2008

I too watched the Jefferson's everday. It become a ritual with my brother and I to tune in to hear what brilliant idea George was getting ready to come up with and how he would respond to other folks who thought he was only a joke to have dreams. Congrats Mr. Braithwaite on your insightfulness.

Sent by Charmaine A. Gordon | 8:52 AM | 2-6-2008