David Philpot’s workshops are often described as memorable, and in January, 2016, he received an unexpected, affirming email. Philpot was so moved upon reading this message, he asked the writer – whom he does not know – permission to reprint it in its entirety, which was graciously granted. It is reprinted below:
Dear Mr. Philpot,
You may not remember but about 25 years ago you visited Douglass Branch Library in Champaign Illinois. It was a very small library, mostly frequented by the little black boys and girls from the government housing that surrounded it. During that visit, you displayed all the beautiful works of art that you created, you explained the different woods that you use, even brought in some of the tools you use to create your masterpieces. You shared tales of your journey up until then and how you got to where you were.
Mr.Philpot, that day you left many little ghetto boys and girls in awe and wonderment. Before your visit…many of them had never seen anything close to what you had to offer, much less be trusted to touch and hold them in their own hands. That day, Mr.Philpot…you took one of those little ghetto boys, one you had never met before but was told by the librarian that he was “Good at art” then…looked him straight in his eyes and said that You Believe in Him. From the depth of your heart you believed in him.
Mr.Philpot, the next thing you did was take one of your Dremel tools, one of the very tools that helped create those masterpieces, you placed it in his hand and gave that tool to him to have as undeniable proof that you weren’t blowing smoke, that you really and truly had faith that this kid you never met had a future beyond that 4 block neighborhood which destroyed many a black boy’s lives.
Mr.Philpot, That day you layed an “egg of inspiration and determination” in that little boy’s heart and mind and for many years Mr.Philpot, that boy has been on his own little journey to recreate the feeling and faith that you placed in him in as many young souls as possible.
I am pleased to say, Mr.David Philpot that the little boy you gave that dremel tool to grew up to be a special education teacher with over 10 years working with students with “emotional disabilities” and trying his darndest to pass on the love you shared to him with others because without a doubt, he knows just how inspiring one can be when they are genuine in their efforts.
I am also proud to share that the little boy, now grown with a wife and 4 kids of his own, has never given up on his art as well. In fact, that guy is now going on his second year as a business owner in which he creates custom art for Tee shirts, wall decals, glass etching and more.
Mr.Philpot, this letter is the absolute very least that I can do to let you know that the small token of faith you had in that boy went a long way. There has been so much that has transpired in that little black boy’s life, a lot that he will never ever remember, but the short time he spent with David Philpot, The Master Staff Maker is one that is etched in his soul and has been life orienting! That dremel tool was lost due to an eviction during his younger years but your impression was sound.
Thank you Mr.Philpot for having faith in that boy and as I have become a man, I only hope that I will someday be able to pass on the greatest gift ever given to me. Faith in the future!
God Speed Sir, and know that as soon as time permits, I will be sure to make a trip to Detroit and visit one of the greatest inspirations of my life!
Mr. Calvin Coolidge Hunter III