Years ago, when I was a full-time receptionist/concierge at Lenbrook Square in Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia, I participated in a number of company book talks during which I recited and discussed my written works. I distributed excerpts of my discussed writings to attendees; they were eventually catalogued into Lenbrook’s library. One of the attendees of the typically jammed-packed book talks was Mrs. Katherine Branch, the wife of Mr. Harllee Branch, Jr., a once president of Georgia Power, an attorney, and the subject of a number of other lofty accomplishments that would require several pages to fully document.
Mrs. Branch shared my work with Mr. Branch, who was so impressed that he wanted to meet me. When Mrs. Branch informed me of this, I told her that I’d come up and speak with him during one of my meal breaks. My meal break was only thirty minutes, however, and it was difficult to fit the meeting into my schedule. After reminding me several times that her husband wanted to meet with and talk to me, she called down to the front desk one day and told me that she wanted me in particular to deliver a package that she had there.
When I arrived, Mrs. Branch invited me into a dining area where she had lunch waiting for me. “Yolanda, I knew that this was the only way that I’d get you up here, and Harllee really wanted to meet you,” she said.
When Mr. Branch walked into the room, I felt a bit intimidated, considering that a major media (news) network in Atlanta had just paid a visit to Lenbrook to film a documentary on him. He introduced himself and told me how Mrs. Branch had allowed him to read my work. “I want you to know that what you have is a gift, and my kind will envy the hell out of you for it. But don’t you let anyone stop you.” It was precisely what I needed to hear at a time that I needed to hear it. I believe that Mr. Branch might have known about racism that I was experiencing at Lenbrook as the only African American in administration there for a while. It felt great to know that there were not only Caucasian power players who were and are anti-racism, those like Mr. Branch utilized their influence to really impact the cause. Among varied endeavors, Mr. Branch chaired a committee that opened the doors of Emory University to minorities.
Not too long after my conversation with Mr. Branch, he passed away, and Mrs. Branch had one of her assistants to deliver a note that she found that he had written to me. It endured a bit of water damage while I was in a period of transition, though I managed to preserve it intact…
Though Mr. Branch led a major non-renewable energy company, and I am an advocate of renewable energy in major, he is certainly on the list of my most admired persons. Considering that natural disasters like hurricanes, etc. that are devastating our world landscape occur as a result of over-use of non-renewable energy sources, it is only intelligible to advocate for prevention. Being the humanitarian he was, I am confident that had Mr. Branch known what we’ve since learned about the effects of non-renewable energy on our environment, he would choose right. Ideally, our major utility companies would competitively invest in making renewable energy our primary power source of the world and non-renewable energy the least utilized, or a harmonious balance that would heal and regulate nature’s delicate temperament.