According to Wali Rushdan II, Esq., it wasn't until he was an undergraduate in college when he first met an African-American lawyer.
As he spoke at one of his alma maters, Delaware Tech, Rushdan said he was aware of the great Thurgood Marshall and other models out there.
'While I was being reaffirmed at home, the inconsistency in which I was living led me to question the future that I had envisioned for myself," Rushdan said of his upbringing in Chester, Pennsylvania.
Rushdan also said he was working nearly full time while he studied at Delaware Tech. At risk of failing out of school, Rushdan said he regained his focus when he realized the sacrifice his parents had made: relocating the family to Delaware so he could attend better schools.
He would later study at the University of Delaware and Rutgers. Now, his professional success, his mentorship of young people and young lawyers, his service as a member of the State Board of Education and other contributions and accomplishments have gained Rushdan a place on the Delaware Tech Black History Wall of Fame.
"I believe a mentor plays a critical role," Rushdan told WDEL. "They expose blind spots. They show you what's coming ahead, things that you may not know because you haven't lived enough life yet."
"Mentors have played a critical role in my life."
Also, while Rushdan called education the "great equalizer," his own experience as a child still drives him today.
"No child, no family should have to make family separation decisions or should have to move to another town or even to another state in my instance just to have access to that great equalizer, a quality public education," Rushdan said.
Rushdan received accolades, certificates of appreciation and many hugs and handshakes during the annual program, which has been held since 1998.
As he recognized the significance of Black History Month, Rushdan also carried a message for the students in attendance: don't be too concerned if your own history doesn't make the history books.
"If you apply yourself, you can transform the circumstances of your family. You made history, because you put in motion important changes."
"Black History is everyday."