Condoleezza Rice knows who she is and remembers where she came from. Early in her tenure as U.S. Secretary of State, she brought then British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to her home state of Alabama. She took him to the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, where four little girls had been murdered by an act of racist terrorism. She took him to the Civil Rights Institute, the South's finest museum of its worst embarrassment. And she took him to attend services at the church where her father served as pastor during the turbulent 1960s.
As a child, Condi experienced personally what it is like when citizens are denied equal rights because of the color of their skin. When one of her heroes, Rosa Parks, died, Condi was in the front row at her funeral, paying homage to the woman who took a seat on a bus so that all Americans could earn a seat at the table. As Secretary of State, Rice, 52, has consistently communicated to the world that although the U.S. is a great nation, it is not perfect. While she and I don't always agree politically, I admire her courage as well as many of her values and accomplishments. She balances her active career with devotion to her family, friends and community. And she makes time to stay in touch with her Southern roots.
Brazile is the author of Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics