March , 2019

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Son flies in from Encino, California to be with dad

Al Perkins celebrates 80th birthday

By Chinta Strausberg

David Perkins, 60, president of Assured Claims Service in Encino, California, flew 1,755 miles to celebrate Father’s Day with his dad, Al Perkins who also turned 80-years-old on Saturday.

He and his father, a retired construction/insurance company giant from the West Side of Chicago, had breakfast at Josephine’s Cooking Restaurant, 436 E. 79th Street, where they shared childhood memories.

His son, who is one of three children born to Mr. Perkins and his wife, Faith, said, “I wanted to come in to spend time with my dad and family and to celebrate his 80th birthday.”

As a child, David Perkins said his father was “very busy. He spent a lot of time traveling on business. I learned commitment from him and to be very disciplined and focused. I learned how to be creative, how to put business deals together and how to start up a business.

“I knew him as a very resourceful man,” he said. Perkins grew up in Chicago’s Pill Hill area. He attended South Shore High School transferring later to Bowen where he graduated. Perkins went to Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama where he majored in psychology.

Perkins’ girlfriend lived in California and after visiting her in December he found a job and quickly married her.  He has since remarried and still calls California his home.

But, he missed his dad so much; he had to come back home. Father’s Day, he said, “is important because of the sacrifices he made to take care of his family, because of his dedication to make sure all of our needs were met and to ensure we had a solid foundation to build our future on,” his son said.

When asked why are father’s important, Mr. Perkins said, “Without good father’s the foundation of the family erodes because father’s exemplifies what it means to be selfless and sacrificial, and giving of themselves,” said Perkins who is a father of three children.  “With the absence of fathers, the consequences of not having healthy fathers are an unhealthy society. Father’s are the lynchpin of a healthy society.”

“I am in business today because of my father because I observed my father as a child.  He has always been self-employed. I never knew him to be employed by somebody else. My close relationship with him helped to shape my mind, and I ultimately became an entrepreneur as well. I started my own public insurance adjusting company thanks to my father.”

Looking proudly at his son, the senior Perkins said, “It’s always good to see my son. I have always been an entrepreneur because I never liked white folks telling me what to do. I have been in Chicago for 72-years, but when I was a little boy in Drew, Mississippi, I used to watch white folks tell blacks what to do. Blacks didn’t have any voice. That motivated me to be a businessman.

“I remember mother would tell you to respect whites. It was brainwashing. I had a problem with white men telling me what to do. The first couple of jobs I had a foreman telling me, ‘boy, to do this,’ but it was the way he said it that bothered me. I got fired from my first two jobs because of that.  As a child, I was taught to respect the opinion of the white man even though a black man could be a professor. I rejected that kind of thinking,” the senior Perkins said.

His first business was a record shop located at 23rd and State Street at the age of 17, but I had other businesses during my life. When Dr. King came to Chicago, Rev. Al Sharpton came to me and said, ‘They told us to see you.’ They had brought Dr. Martin Luther King to the West Side to live. I found him a place to stay in the Lawndale community,” recalled Perkins.

He also had an insurance office on the West Side in the 24th Ward. Perkins’ office was just above the late Ald. Benjamin F. Lewis who was assassinated while in office. His killer was never found. It remains a cold case today.

When asked what does Father’s Day mean, Perkins said, “Try to be a good father to your children. I was a good father. I was good to my children who always felt safe because they had me to take care of them,” he stated.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

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