As a White child growing up during the first wave of the civil rights movement, Sharon Nesbit’s early affections and relationships challenged the stagnant mindsets of many around her and paved the path toward her life commitments both to the Bahá’í Faith and to the love of her life, George.
In 1976, when Sharon and George were wed in a simple outdoor ceremony, there were many concerns amid the support from family and friends. George’s mother wondered why her Black son would choose to make his life more difficult by marrying a White girl. Sharon’s parents were not in attendance, despite having given their hard-earned blessing after five years. Even among well-meaning friends arose a question: “What about the children?”
On a basic level, many people would accept the marriage of Sharon and George as normal: two people who loved each other. But in 1976, race complicated things. It still does. But that doesn’t mean Sharon and George weren’t intended to be together.
I knew my Aunt Sharon had a unique story to tell. What seemed to others like a diverse family dynamic was simply our normal. My uncle, my dad’s oldest brother is Black, and my aunt is White. I never thought much of it because my parents did not talk much about race. Through her memoir, Intended, I hope to learn exactly how she navigated an interracial marriage during the 1960s.
Aunt Sharon was the first white person I knew. She is kind and patient with a quiet strength. Her deliberate and resolved demeanor amplifies her natural beauty. This positive and loving experience shaped my narrative for how I frame my relationships with people of all races. Unless there is an obvious danger, I see humanity first, then I base our ongoing relationship on a foundation of ease. I tried hard to eliminate bias or generalizations, modeling the interracial family dynamic that I observed growing up.
Sharon Nesbit-Davis is a mime, a writer, a storyteller, and a visual artist who facilitates “Creative Recharge” workshops for all ages. She recently retired from her “day job” as Executive Director of the Rockford Area Arts Council. Sharon lives with her husband, George, in Rockford, IL. They have two children and eight grandchildren. Sharon and George are co-directors of “StoryVine Theater,” a theater project to build community through the sharing of stories (firstname.lastname@example.org).