Kampala Afrika Jefferson hurriedly searched for some clean clothing. It was already after seven o’clock. She had to get Amhara to the day care center, then had to get to her first class.

She finally grabbed a pair of cutoffs and a blouse, mentally chiding herself for not washing any clothes that weekend. With one more check of her hair, she grabbed Amhara’s diaper bag, making sure that there were plenty of diapers, two juice bottles a change of clothing and a box of animal crackers.

“Who’s Mommy’s big girl, huh?” Kampala sang as she made her way from Apartment 2B to the automobile that Gordon King had purchased for them.

“Me,” the two and a half year old girl giggled happily.

“That’s right, you!” Kampala agreed.

After hooking the child in her car seat, Kampala had to dig her shorts out of her buttocks. Sitting on her car seat, Kampala could feel the velour fabric tickling her bare buttocks.

“Damn, should have just thrown these out, huh?” she asked herself.

Happyland Day Care Center welcomed Amhara and relieved Kampala of her diaper bag. Kampala gave the girl one more kiss before rushing to the campus of the University of Louisiana at DeGarde.

Finding a parking spot was a challenge; obviously several students were signed up for the summer semester. Finally, she hurried from car to classroom, even managing to find a seat in the very front of the room.

Kampala Afrika Jefferson reflected on what had taken her from Devonshire Street Projects of Elgee, Louisiana to a clean two bedroom apartment in DeGarde, Louisiana, an apartment with rent and utilities paid and an additional two hundred and fifty dollars a month living expenses.

She was the fourth child, the oldest daughter of Konstance Mary Jefferson. Konstance had been born to a crack addicted mother and foisted on her maternal grandmother. Kconstance’s grandmother had a deeply entrenched distrust of white people and had pounded her beliefs into Konstance’s head. Konstance also made her own observations of the world around her and came to the belief that white people were doing their best to keep all black people enslaved.

Konstance also believed that black people were trying to deny their own heritage, their own roots. This, in turn, gave white people even more power, more dominance over blacks.

Alcohol gave way to marijuana use and marijuana use gave way to meth use. When shorting meth did not provide the rush, the relief, Konstance started smoking the drug. To pay for her addiction, Konstance stole what she could. When she couldn’t steal, she turned tricks.

Her first child was named Uganda Afrika Jefferson. Her second child was named Zambezi Afrika Jefferson. The third child was stillborn so Konstance did not name the boy.

She raised her children in the same manner she’d been raised. Slaps and shrill admonishing’s were dealt out on a regular basis. Far too few encouraging words or hugs were ever given.

Schooling was hit and miss; Konstance rarely woke up before two o’clock in the afternoon, rarely remembered to make her children wake up in time to attend class. Uganda, Zambezi, Kampala, their younger sister Kasai Afrika Jefferson, and their youngest brother Durban Afrika Jefferson advanced to the next school year simply because their teachers had long ago quit caring.

When Zambezi was eighteen, he dragged Kampala with him to a party a girl was hosting. He liked the girl and hoped to impress her; he’d stolen some of Momma’s meth and even one of her syringes.

At the party, Zambezi lost track of his sister. When he found her four hours later, she was incoherent; could not tell her brother where her clothes had disappeared to.

Nine months later, Kampala cried, screamed, sweated and cursed and gave birth to Amhara Afrika Jefferson. The black nurse in the maternity ward quietly encouraged Kampala to keep going to school.

“You too young give up,” she said to the exhausted girl. “Hear me? You too young this be all there is to your life.”

“What the fuck you know about my life, huh bitch?” Kampala angrily demanded.

“Waters Street Projects, girl. Waters Streets, know what I’m saying?” Venus O’Toole said.

“And now you got you a little girl needs see there more to life than just getting by. There’s more to life than drinking and drugging and getting high and getting knocked up. There’s more to life than getting you that check on the third and being all broke ass by the tenth,” Venus continued. “Go ahead. Tell me that ain’t your life, go ahead, tell me, huh?”

Mrs. Mendelson, a case worker with St. Ann’s Parish did meet with Kampala, did purse her lips and agree to assist Kampala in continuing her education. She arranged for Amhara to have a regular baby sitter so that Kampala could go to school. She also arranged for Kampala to have parenting classes.

And when Kampala did get her diploma, Mrs. Mendelson put Kampala and Amhara into her car and drove mother and daughter to the office of King Sanitation.

In the muted elegance of the office building, Sheila Jakes greeted Kampala warmly and fussed over Amhara. Kampala wondered what the white woman wanted from her.

“Amhara; that’s such a beautiful name,” Sheila complimented. “What does it mean?”

“Amhara’s a region in Ethiopia, a land where my people are free,” Kampala snapped.

“Oh? Have you ever been there?” Sheila asked, undeterred by Kampala’s anger.

“Yeah, right,” Kampala spat. “I just flap my wings and fly there.”

Kampala again bent to the task of filling out the paperwork Shelia had handed to her. Next to her, Mrs. Mendelson shifted nervously.

“All finished?” Sheila asked pleasantly as Kampala scrawled her signature. “Ms. Rodriguez will see you now.”

“Who? Why?” Kampala asked.

“Ms. Jefferson? Hi, I’m Michelle,” an attractive Latin woman smiled, extending her hand.

Kampala found herself in a small office, being questioned about goals, aspirations, plans. She stammered and stuttered her way through the interview, wondering what was going on.

“Kam, can I call you Kampala? I’m going to put you at the top of my list,” Michelle smiled warmly. “Mr. King has final say-so, but I’ll try to twist his arm, okay?”

“Say-so on what?” Kampala demanded.

“The Nicole King Scholarship,” Michelle said, smile faltering. “Mrs. Mendelson didn’t tell you?”

Two days after that odd meeting, Kampala received a phone call on her government cell phone. Some white man, she could tell it was a white man, was telling her he had high hopes for her. The day after receiving that phone call, an attractive blonde woman was ushering Kampala and Amhara toward her minivan, driving them to her new apartment.

“This all mine?” Kampala asked, not believing her eyes.

The apartment was as large as the apartment she had just left on Devonshire Street. It did not smell of cooking oil and burned food. The furniture did not reek of urine. She had a bedroom. And Amhara had a bedroom. And Amhara had a bed, not a cardboard box to sleep in.

Kelli King, Gordon’s wife smiled as the beautiful girl just gaped at her new surroundings. Then she put the keys of the apartment into Kampala’s hand.

“You’re enrolled for the fall semester; you’ll be taking twelve hours,” Kelli said. “Kampala, all we ask is that you do your very best. Kneed anything? My phone number and Mr. King’s phone numbers are right here, on your refrigerator. Just call us.”

With a final hug to the still astonished girl, and a kiss to the sleeping child, the white woman was gone. Then Kampala’s amazement gave way to anger.

All of this wealth had been available and Whitey was keeping it all for themselves. They could have been sharing all this with her, and her brothers and sister and her momma, but they’d kept it for themselves. She didn’t know why these crazy ass Crackers were giving it to her, unless it was some kind of nasty trick.

A few weeks later, Kelli came and knocked on the door of Apartment 2B. She asked Kampala why she’d not been in class that week.

“I’m supposed leave Amhara here by herself?” Kampala asked. “I brung her first day and white ass bitch made me leave her class.”

“Oh, Kampala, I am so sorry!” Kelli gasped. “I could have sworn; no one told you?”

The Nicole King Scholarship was paying for a day care for Amhara. They were paying the gas and insurance and upkeep on a Toyota Camry; there was even a car seat in the rear of the car.

“Kampala, I am so sorry,” Kelli kept apologizing. “I just assumed Michelle went over all of this with you.”

Her first semester, Kampala found like-minded people to hang with. They too were disenfranchised African-Americans, bitter with the cards life had dealt to them. There were even some like-minded professors on the ULD campus.

Gordon King, and his wife Kelli King found out about Kampala’s arrest when Happyland Day Care called, asking if they knew why Kampala had not come for Amhara.

“Three days?” Gordon cried out. “That poor baby; Kelli will lose her mind.”

Kampala roused herself when she heard the guard call out for her. She called back and got to her feet.

“Step back,” the police officer snapped as she reached out to unlock the cell door.

Kampala was shackled and led down a maze of corridors to a small cinderblock room. Inside, Kelli King sat, beautiful face drawn tight.

“Why in God’s name did you not call me?” Kelli screamed the moment the door closed. “And what were you doing at that protest anyway?”

Then, to Kampala’s utter shock, Kelli King burst into tears. She wanted to hug the white woman, but her hands were bound to her waist.

Afterward, there was a flurry of activity. Cells, vans, another cell, a courtroom, a white woman said she was Kampala’s attorney spoke some gibberish to a white man in a dark robe, then she was unshackled and pushed into Michelle Rodriguez’s Mercedes-Benz.

“Girl, I put you at top of my list?” Michelle screamed at Kampala. “I put you ahead of four or five other girls? And this is how you do me?”

And Kampala was hustled down a hall and pushed into Gordon King’s office. The blonde man stared at the girl across a mahogany desk. Then with a sigh, he sat back.

“We picked you,” he began in a heavy voice. “We, Ms. Rodriguez, Mrs. King and I; we picked you because you’re a leader. You, Kampala Afrika Jefferson, you’re a leader.”

“I… I’m what?” Kampala asked, baffled.

“You have the potential to be a leader. That potential is within you, Kampala,” Gordon said.

He slammed his hand on his desk. Kampala shrank back.

“And this? That protest? Makes you nothing but a follower. Just a mindless drone, following other mindless drones because someone tells you that you ought to. That this is the right thing to do. Do you even know what you were protesting?” he demanded.

“They was going have some war criminal…” Kampala stammered.

“What were her crimes, exactly?” Gordon demanded. “What crimes has she been convicted of? What crimes did she commit?”

“I don’t know,” Kampala admitted.

“Lieutenant Carice Soilleau has done two tours of duty in Afghanistan, has been awarded the bronze star, the Silver Star, and the Purple Heart,” Gordon snapped. She is missing her left leg from the knee down and her left arm from the shoulder down. Yet, bleeding from those wounds, she still managed to hold off a group of Taliban fighters until reinforcements could arrive. You may not agree with the Afghan conflict. Hell, I don’t agree with the Afghan conflict, but Lieutenant Soilleau is not a criminal; she is a hero and a patriot.”

Kampala fidgeted in her seat. Her cheeks burned with shame.

“Kampala? If this was a cause you truly believed in? If this was a cause you had all the facts, and were still willing to go to jail for? I would back you up, one hundred percent. I would use every dollar I have to fight for you,” Gordon said quietly. “But this isn’t your cause. This is you just letting someone else making you their sucker. You let someone else put you in jail while they walked off. They’re laughing at you. You got arrested for them and they’re laughing at you.”

Kampala’s shame gave way to anger. She knew Gordon King was telling her the truth. When the police had come in and started arresting them, Professor Donohoe was nowhere in sight. Professor Alton was nowhere in sight. Patty McGuinness, the girl with the bullhorn was nowhere in sight.

“Kampala, be a leader,” Gordon said. “From here on out? Be a Nicole King Scholarship leader.”

“Yes sir,” Kampala sniffled.

As she got to her feet and turned, Kampala saw a photograph of an attractive African-American woman on the office wall. The woman was dressed in a beautiful wedding gown, smiling happily.

“Who’s that?” Kampala asked.

“Rayanne Williams-Sanders,” Gordon said sadly, coming to stand next to Kampala. “She was the first chairperson of the Nicole King Scholarship.”

“She’s beautiful,” Kampala said.

“Yes, yes she was,” Gordon said and actually sniffed. “That was taken on the day of her wedding. I walked her down the aisle when she and her girlfriend got married.”

“What happened to her?” Kampala whispered.

“Died. Bee sting,” Gordon said and dabbed at his eyes. “Loved her like a daughter. Never took anything for granted, was so grateful for every opportunity.”

He abruptly turned away and blew his nose. Then he sat back down behind his desk again.

Sent me an email every Friday, gave me an update of how she was doing. Special occasions? She would call Mrs. King, make sure we knew everything that was going on,” Gordon said.

Kampala looked at the photograph, then at the red nosed white man. This white man was crying, over the death of an African-American woman. A gay African-American woman.

“It won’t happen again, Mr. King,” Kampala promised. “I swear, I won’t let you down no more.”

Stepping into the lobby, Kampala again cried tears of shame. Kelli King and Sheila Jakes had Amhara, were fussing over her daughter. She’d not been able to care for her daughter, locked up in jail for a cause that had been a lie.

Safely in her apartment again, Kampala fed her daughter, bathed her daughter, then gently rocked her daughter to sleep. After Amhara was asleep, Kampala went into her bathroom, got out the scissors from the first aid kit and cut her dreadlocks off. The scissors were not designed to cut hair and her head looked like she’d lost a fight with a lawnmower, but she nodded in satisfaction at the results.

She had struggled to catch up on her missed assignments. Three of her instructors told her that if she missed any more days, they would cut her from their class. But Kampala did manage to pass her four classes. And, every Friday afternoon, she did send Gordon King an email, giving him a synopsis of her week. She did send Michelle Rodriguez an email every Friday, letting the chairperson of the Nicole King Scholarship know how her week had gone.

At the end of the spring semester, Kampala was carrying a three point five. Now, at the beginning of the summer semester, she sat in her Earth Sciences 109 class, exposed buttocks warming the hard wooden seat. She looked up from her brand new notebook when Professor Byrd strode in.

Professor Byrd was there to teach. He strolled around the front of the room, delivering his lecture in an impassioned manner.

“Erosion. Caused by wind, water, man,” he said. “The map of Louisiana changes almost daily.”

“So, you telling me, in another five, maybe six years, I got me some ocean front property?” a young man quipped.

Dr. Byrd looked up at the man directly behind Kampala and smiled.

At precisely eight forty five, Dr. Byrd stopped and asked if there were any questions. There were none, so he wished them all a good day and marched out of the classroom.

Kampala stood and, before she could stop herself, dug the shorts out of her butt crack.

“I fail this class, it’s all your fault,” the wise cracking young man said to her.

“Huh?” Kampala asked.

“You got any idea how distracting you are?” the red headed man asked.

“Need be paying attention to him, not me,” Kampala advised, smiling, flinging her backpack over her shoulder.

Kampala Afrika Jefferson was used to boys, men vying for her attention, even white boys. Slowly, she was losing her mistrust of all white people, conceding that one or two of them might actually be good people. Mr. and Mrs. King seemed to be good people. Mrs. Jakes seemed to be a good person. One of the workers at Happyland Day Care was a skinny ass white girl, but the white girl was usually the first one to reach out for Amhara.

Kampala knew she was attractive. She stood at five feet, four inches and weighed one hundred and twenty six pounds. She had flawless skin the color of milk chocolate, large soulful eyes and a heavy eyebrow that extended over both large eyes. Her nose was a slender nose that turned up slightly and she had full pouting lips. Her chin and jaw were square, giving her a pleasing symmetry to her face. Since her release from jail, Kampala kept her tight coils of black cut close to her scalp.

Her 32D breasts looked large for her slim frame. Her twenty six inch waist tapered to thirty four inch hips, nicely rounded buttocks.

“I tried. Tried real hard,” the young man insisted as they left the classroom.

“I sit somewhere else next time,” Kampala promised.

“Won’t help,” the young man said as they joined the throng of students thundering down the steps.

“Then I just don’t know what to say,” Kampala said as they stepped into the brutal humidity of southwestern Louisiana.

“Say you’ll have dinner with me; you like Jade Garden?” the young man said, keeping step with her.

“No, but thanks,” Kampala said easily.

The young man wasn’t bad looking. He had bright carrot orange hair cut close to scalp on the sides and the back, with tightly coiled carrot orange curls on the top, coils almost as tight as her own hair. His eyes were a light blue, ice blue if she had to put a name to them. His nose was just a little large for his handsome, square face and he had a light dusting of freckles on his pale white skin.

He was tall, at least ten inches taller than she, with biceps and chest bulging against his tight tee shirt. His pale white legs stuck out of a pair of cargo shorts and she could see his thighs and calves were muscled. His quite large feet were jammed into top siders, with no socks.

“I uh, you following me?” Kampala asked as he continued to walk with her.

“You going to Coolidge Hall? If you are, then yeah, I’m following you,” he smiled, revealing straight, white teeth.

“Uh, yeah. I uh, what class you got?” Kampala asked.

“Alternate History two twenty one,” he said.

“No way, you kidding, right?” Kampala asked. “I needed one more History and my advisor said it was the best one for the short semester.”

“Well, if Ms. Wright’s your advisor, she said same thing to me,” he laughed as he opened the door for her.

“We are not studying history as it was,” Professor Sampson declared after the Teacher’s Aide had completed the attendance. “No, no, we are studying history as it might have been.”

He pulled down a map of the world. With a pointer, Dr. Sampson pointed to Germany.

“What if the United States of America had said ‘the hell with it; we are not entering World War Two, no matter what. We are not going to continue making the Rothschild’s rich,” he hypothesized.

“Then we’d all be speaking German,” a student offered.

“Would we? Would we? Remember, Japan was also involved. And Germany had signed an agreement with Stalin only to turn around and break that agreement,” Dr. Sampson said, pointing out Japan and Russia on the world map. “Suppose Japan had conquered the Asian countries, then turned their attention to Germany? Suppose, instead of bombing the naval fleet of America, the Japanese forces had pulled a pre-dawn raid on the Fokker factories, had decimated the Luftwaffe?”