On Wednesday, February 27, in celebration of African American History Month, Middle School Chapel welcomed author Troy Lewis as our guest speaker. Mr. Lewis shared stories from his memoir, Gas Money, which capture the perspective and imagination of a six-year-old black boy growing up in 1960s Virginia. He spoke of his first day in a desegregated elementary school, the power of a good teacher, and his family connections to Mildred Loving and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He applauded Moravian Academy’s “Can We Talk?” initiative, and the importance of empathy and listening to the stories of others. Each story Mr. Lewis told was rooted in a person, a relationship, or sometimes a random encounter that shaped the author’s life and the man he would become. Mr. Lewis calls such relationships the “gas money” that move us forward in life.
Mr. Lewis received his B.A. in Communications from the University of Nebraska while serving in the U.S. Air Force for 11 years. He then worked in the pharmaceutical sales and training arena, where his coworkers enjoyed his life stories so much, they encouraged him to start writing them down. Copies of Gas Money are available from major book outlets for parents who would like to share Mr. Lewis’s powerful and thoughtful stories with their children.
We were also pleased to welcome our fifth grade this week to experience what Middle School Chapel is all about. We began with these words from 1 Corinthians 12: “Even though we are many, we are one body. You must never forget this. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part flourishes with it.” We ended by singing “We Shall Overcome”, and Mr. Lewis wrote in a thank you note to the school about the emotional moment: “Growing up in my circumstances in Middlesex County, Virginia, never would have I thought that 50 years later I’d join with a predominantly white audience of children to sing those lyrics. In my area of Virginia, there were people who truly hated integration and did everything they could to make that not occur. With the current divisiveness in our country, your Moravian students give me hope for a better future.” Thank you to Mr. Lewis for sharing his stories with us, and becoming part of our “Gas Money.”