My Father, My Legacy (work in progress)

In My Father, My Legacy I share a historical journey through the story and legacy of my family. It begins with my grandmother Ruby Berkeley Goodwin’s achievements in publicity, film and writing and chronicles my father’s accomplishments as a Tuskegee Airman and administrator for Cal Berkeley. My hope is that readers will discover how it felt to be a bi-racial child of a Polish Jewish mother and an African American father who met at Cal Berkeley on the debate team in the 1950s. There were challenges on both sides of the family; worry from the African Americans and expulsion from the Jewish family. Through my words, I show how my family’s life and love changed the hearts and minds of so many, then how their shared accomplishments affected the community. This journey culminates in Jim Goodwin (my father) accepting an invitation to attend the inauguration of United States President Barack Obama with his daughter (me) by his side.


My Father, My Legacy
(title poem)

My Father, My Legacy

A living part of history,

A young Tuskegee fighter pilot

Who graduated from Cal Berkeley,

Then worked in the community

Organizing with Dr. King.

My Father, My Legacy

A fighter for peace

A lover of nature

An eloquent speaker;

He could have been a

Beautiful actor like Sydney Poitier,

Instead he chose to change minds and open doors  

Working in minority affairs at Cal

My Father, My Legacy

He taught me so many things

The fine arts

The golden rule

The meaning of love

How music can make the soul sing

My Father, My Legacy

He means the world to me

He has seen so many changes in this great nation

And soon he will witness Obama’s inauguration

My Father, My Legacy

There is no place I would rather be

Than right by his side

Still his little girl

Hoping that maybe

A piece of his greatness
will spring alive in me

© Leah Goodwin | 2008