Two years ago, to mark Father’s Day, I sat in the closet I’m sitting in now (which you can see only in your mind’s eye), and had an extraordinary conversation with Dr. Talmadge E. King, Jr., a world-renowned lung specialist who is dean of the Medical School at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. King and I talked about his father, Talmadge King Senior, who was born in 1922 in the segregated south. I loved our conversation, and it seems fitting to post the interview today, on June 19th, 2022. Mr. King, who died in 2018, would be 100 this year.
Talmadge Senior was so beloved a member of the community in Darien, Georgia that the town recruited him as the first Black police officer when the police force was first integrated.
He instilled in his five children a sense of doing better with each successive generation. He offered a simple metaphor: "If your father builds a wooden house, it's your responsibility to build a brick house."