Gram Gram said WHAT?

Yesterday was Mother’s Day.  Happy Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful mother’s and future wonderful mothers out there in the world.  Happy Mother’s Day to the beautiful mother’s of the past, that despite the hardships still mothered.

For many this is an easier day to celebrate than Father’s Day.  For some it used to be an easy day, but the reminder of a mother now gone can welcome those bittersweet tears.  Yesterday I was with my mother, but her mind I’m sure was on her mother, but it might have also been on her grandmother.  Lately she’s been thinking a lot about her grandmother, whom she affectionately called “Gram-Gram”.

Gram-Gram lived a life.  Born in 1884, she remembered when them “Wright Boys flew that plane” and she remembered how life was before electricity and television.  She was a mourning survivor of the Spanish Flu, and a mother to 19 children.

She lovingly told Lil’ Katie, “We didn’t even have no radio back den!”  

As Katie, sitting on her grandmother’s lap looked into her grandmother’s sincere eyes in astonishment, her sweet little chocolate arms began to hold on to her grandmother tightly.  She nestled her round face onto the cusp of her Gram Gram’s warm neck. Katie was hiding a question and was hoping this would be a good time to let it loose.  How accurate were the history books of 1968?  Katie mustered up the courage and began, “Gram Gram…” 

“Yes, baby,”  Gram-Gram lovingly answered. 

“Were you a slave?”  she whispered.

“Speak up now, say it again?” Gram Gram replied.

Katie, born to Gram-Gram’s son, lived with her family up north in Chicago, but every summer they would make the drive down to Tutwiler, Mississippi to visit family.  Years prior, her father grew tired of the limited future of being a sharecropper and dealing with the open-racism he experienced for being a black man in the deep south of the United States of America (where the states were only UNITED if you looked a certain way) left.  He and his sisters journeyed during the great migration when multitudes of black folks eager for a better life, began to leave the south for a more promising life in the Northern states.

Ten-year-old little Katie had been learning about Slavery in school and was trying to understand why people could treat others in such a hateful way.  When she would ask questions about this during their family dinners back home in Chicago, her daddy would reply, “If they don’t see you as a person, but as an animal, it’s easier.  It’s easier to be cruel to something that isn’t a person.” 

With a mixture of Gram Grams coca butter scented body mixed with vanilla from the cake baking in the stove, she timidly asked again, “Gram Gram, were you a slave?”

Katie tightened her eyes to barricade the gush of tears she knew would break forth. 

“Oh, No baby.  I was born after that, but my parents was slaves and dey was freed by Abraham Lincoln.”

“Momma! Gram Gram said WHAT? That means…okay, hold on!  If Gram-Gram is your grandmother, then she is my Great-Grandmother.  So that means that my Great-Great Grandparents were … slaves?” I asked in astonishment.

“Yep, and my Great-Grandparents were….  That’s Crazy”, my mom said.

“Momma, that was just around the corner.  That wasn’t that long ago”,  I responded in disbelief.

“I know”, She said, “I know”.

Happy Mother’s Day Gram Gram!
pictured 1958.

What is Juneteenth

“What is Juneteenth?  June 10th?  Am I saying it right?  Is it a made up word?,”  My mom and I looked around in confusion because we had never heard of this word before.  See, I’m not originally from Texas, and in school, I had always been taught that slavery had ended in 1865.  It wasn’t until I moved to the “Great State of Texas”, that I learned this wasn’t the case for all of the enslaved Africans.

It was then explained to my mom and me, that Juneteenth was a day to celebrate the official ending of slavery in the state of Texas.  With eyes wide open and mouths gaping, it was a surprise to learn that not all slaves in the United States were given freedom at the same time.  These people found out two years later, that they no longer had to endure slavery and that they should have already been free.  The slave master’s knew about it, but wanted to continue slavery for the monetary gains their crops would pull in. How horrible, but incredibly American.  We love that mighty dolla!

I was in the 7th grade at this time and looking back, I still never learned anything about Juneteenth in school, and I was living in Texas at this time.  This information seemed to be left out of the history books.  If it was in the books, it must have been in the back of the book.  You know in the part that’s usually skipped because its near the end of the school year.  I’m a history teacher now, and yep…still not there.

So again, what is Juneteenth? Today, June 19, 2020, marks the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth.  This day has come to be called Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Cel-Liberation Day.  On this day in 1865, two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation to free the enslaved people of the states in “rebellion” by President Abraham Lincoln, Federal troops arrived in Galveston, TX.  They were there to gain control of the state and to ensure that all enslaved peoples were given freedom. 

I’m sure this was a bittersweet day.  Finally, 250,000 slaves, over some time, would no longer have to answer to the hardships of a master and would be free. This was a generational prayer answered for freedom from oppression. Only thing now is continued survival in the midst of having nothing. Now, what would they be able to do being black in America?

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Tears for George Floyd

Symbols are all around us.  They can be as simple as representing the Golden Arches of a company or they can have a more serious meaning and represent the ideals of spirituality, prosperity, or evil. In high school, I loved analyzing the archetypes and symbolism read in literature during English AP class.  I was amazed at uncovering…

Black and Bullied

When we stand up for injustice, we are told that we shouldn’t.  Whether peaceful and silent, or loud and violent we’re continuously told that it’s best to keep out of it, but what about the bullied?

Black and Bullied

When we stand up for injustice, we are told that we shouldn’t.  Whether peaceful and silent, or loud and violent we’re continuously told that it’s best to keep out of it, but what about the bullied?

Another man was killed in broad daylight because he was seen to be threatening.  This “threat” was now lying face down with his hands handcuffed behind him, eventually begging for his mother and for his humanly instinct to breathe.   He’s already in a position that would require assistance to get up, so how does he continue to be a threat?  The only thing threatening about him was his full lips, broad nose, coarse hair, deep voice, broad shoulders, and dark skin.  Being a black man made him threatening.  This is something that’s been happening since the first African set foot on American soil at the hands of white people.  I was once told that since black people, to some, are not seen as having souls, like animals, killing them is no big deal.  George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many others are dead because they were black.

The world has been trained to view black people as threatening and in a negative light.  The world has been trained to view black people as loud, obnoxious, wild, and lazy.  Black women are viewed as ratchet, ghetto, hood, overtly sexy, jealous, and angry; yet our African features, our movements, our style, our personality is imitated throughout the world. Black men are viewed as being angry, uneducated, and thugs, yet the way they “entertain”, the way they move, and their style is envied all over the world.  We are seen as savages, uncivilized, uncouth, and less than second-rate. 

No matter how much black people have adapted to Western European standards… no matter how much of our African traditions and heritage was beat out of us to be replaced by the customs and traditions of our slave owners, no matter how much we’ve done to assimilate, we will NEVER be seen as equal through the eyes of many.  We’ve been told to change the way we speak, the way we dress, and our hair because the way it grows out of our scalp is not right.  It isn’t decent and it’s unacceptable.  Black people will always have to continue to do more to prove ourselves, and even then, some would prefer to believe that we must have done something unethical to have been able to achieve.

When we stand up for injustice, we are told that we shouldn’t.  Whether peaceful and silent, or loud and violent we’re continuously told that it’s best to keep out of it, stay quiet on the issue, and just run after the ball or continue to play fetch.  We’re supposed to just go along and never speak up.  “Just do your job and stay quiet to make life easier for yourselves”.  We’re told that we should feel blessed and not complain about any mistreatment.  But what about the bullied?

We teach children that if they are being bullied, they should tell someone that has the authority to bring an end to the bullying.  The goal is to take the power away from the bully so that the victim can feel strengthened and no longer feel alone.  This can only work if the bullying is truly stopped.  If not, the bully will continue on knowing they’re able to get away with their actions.  If the one being bullied continues to keep their frustrations inside while feeling voiceless… if they have told the appropriate persons and nothing has changed, the bullied tends to do something dramatic to finally be heard.  From my observations, the bullied either violently takes it out on the school or on themselves.  When this happens all that knew about the victim’s situation begin to  speak up out of regret and remorse, for not having taken the child more seriously, for not being aware, or for not doing enough.

Too many times the bullies have been allowed to get away with their actions.  They’ve gotten a slap on the wrist, so they continue to get away with actual murder.  The thing is, by now all that have the authority, have seen the signs and have done nothing. Those that were supposed to listen to us didn’t and are now feeling remorse and regret.  With the use of social media and smart phones the signs of hate can not be ignored; but they have been ignored.  You ignored us and told us that we just needed to work hard and obey the laws and everything would be okay.  You ignored us and told us we were making something out of nothing.  You ignored us and told us that you didn’t believe our tales of the racial injustices we’ve experienced.  You told us that if we just change something about ourselves things would get better.  The bullied are tired.  They’ve been tired.  In the last few years the bullied silently attempted to protest, and the meaning behind it was purposefully misinterpreted. 

The bullied will no longer silent in their protest, and now many are taking dramatic action. We are screaming out for change! We are screaming out for justice! We are screaming out for Equality! We are screaming out because it is right! We are screaming out because we matter! 

My Life Matters–My Husband’s Life Matters–My Family’s Life Matters–                                Black Lives Matter!

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Gram Gram said WHAT?

Yesterday was Mother’s Day.  Happy Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful mother’s and future wonderful mothers out there in the world.  Happy Mother’s Day to the beautiful mother’s of the past, that despite the hardships still mothered. For many this is an easier day to celebrate than Father’s Day.  For some it used to…

I Miss the 90’s & A Different World

I Miss the 90s is a new series that I am starting to talk about what I miss from growing up in the 1990s. Do you miss A Different World?

In the 1990’s, there were a ton of sitcoms and movies starring African Americans.  They were given different roles that depicted the diverse backgrounds of all black people.  As a little black girl growing up in this time, this was exciting.  I was able to see people that looked like me living their fictional life on a television show and not just as a sad looking case on the Evening News or Cops.

Black people weren’t only given the roles of the house maid or the drug dealer.  We were doctors, lawyers, beauticians, teachers, and stock brokers.  We were shown to be business women that still had a life outside of work.  We were students trying to have a voice in America and trying to make a difference in the world.

A Different World, was a spin-off of the classic Cosby Show.  It featured the fictional college of Hillman.  Seeing all of those young, hip, black students, thrilled me and I too wanted to attend.  I didn’t know it was made up; I just wanted to experience that type of college life one day.  A Different World was a show that was ahead of its time. It showcased the many ups and downs that come with being a college student.  What made it even more special was that the characters were brown like me.  Black like me, whatever; they were African American like me.  These students were trying to navigate  through the rocky and sometimes unstable waters of friendship and on time graduation.  They were finding love and learning about who they were and wanted to be.  Has there ever been a successful television show that displayed young adults in college?  Not interns, but as actual students.

After Season 1, the show changed it’s focus from Lisa Bonet’s character, Denise Huxtable, to the spoiled, southern, and sheltered Whitley Gilbert (Jasmine Guy) and the determined, and sometimes uncertain, flip-up glasses wearing Dwayne Wayne (Kadeem Hardison).  Their journey of love brought more humor to an already hilarious show.  Sprinkled throughout the story lines of Whitley and Dwayne, were issues affecting black people in the world at the time like  HIV/AIDS, the injustice of Apartheid in South Africa, Interracial Dating, racial profiling, and the moral decision to continue to be financially supported by companies or organizations that don’t support YOU.  These were issues discussed in the early 90’s, but what’s changed?

With the direction of Debbie Allen, this show helped to make its black viewers even more proud to be black.  For the non-black viewers it taught many lessons on the rights and privileges that are not always easily given, based on the brownness of ones’ skin but with a youthful and mature perspective.   A Different World helped to celebrate the African American’s place in this country by showing that our history didn’t start with slavery and “the struggle”.  That we will continue to make our mark in this country and around the world.  Because of this show, many people were introduced to the dancing style of Alvin Ailey, to the beautifully talented acting chops of Diahann Carroll*, and the power of Step and camaraderie within the African American Fraternities/Sororities.

A Different World was a show before its time.  A realistic story on the plights of the educated African American.  Before the days of social media and internet stardom, young people wanted to achieve the American Dream by going to college and allowing education to “take them places”.  I desired to attend college because of A Different World. Hey TV Writers, please bring back the trend of television shows that inspired young people to dream of being successful with their brain and hard-work. Not just from going viral.

*Diahann Carroll had her own television sitcom, Julia, where she played a single parent and a nurse.  Many believed she was a  white woman with brown make-up on because she was thought to be too beautiful to really be a black woman.  She was also starred in the show Dynasty.

Catch A Different World on Amazon Prime.  Thank you for reading.  Like, Comment, Share, and Subscribe.

All images of Diahann Carroll found on Pinterest,, IMDB

Images of A Different World found on Pinterest and


The Same 7

These 7 aren’t the only ones that have helped the black race in trying to “overcome some day”.

This might be late in the month, but I haven’t forgotten that February is Black History Month.  Being African American, I strongly believe that this month should not be the only time people of African descent are celebrated.  Black History is American History and World History.

With that being said, there is still time to roll out the red, green, and black. To walk with pride in the parades that showcase the talent and musicality of the bands of Historically Black Universities.  Bring on the African American History programs at schools and churches.  Many of our children will write essays detailing why they believe Dr. King’s dream has come to pass; and there will be many debates on why the N-word shouldn’t be used by anyone.  All of these activities that display pride and the betterment of our people are fine.  Though this month seems to be the only time we hear about the contributions African American’s have made, can we please turn the repeat button off and hear about others that have also added to our history?

The same 7 are on replay EVERY February.  Don’t get me wrong, I truly respect the work that Dr. King, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Frederick Douglass, Jackie Robinson, George Washington Carver, Harriet Tubman, and the Obamas did.  Their sacrifices allow much of the liberties we live by today, but there are others that have made great achievements too.  These 7 aren’t the only ones that have helped the black race in trying to “overcome some day”.

Lonnie Johnson

Think about it, what would summer be like if it weren’t for the genius behind the infamous Super Soaker.  Not only was he an inventor, but an engineer as well.  Thank you Mr. Johnson for making summer’s even more memorable.  Read more about him at .


Fannie Lou Hamer

Growing up the daughter of Sharecroppers to working on a Plantation in the 1950s-1960s.  She was a victim of the “Mississippi Appendectomy” and unjustly had her uterus  removed.  She continued to fight for the rights of the black vote and for the black voice to be heard.  No wonder she was “tired of being sick and tired”.  Read about the Strong Fannie Lou Hamer at

Isaiah T. Montgomery & Benjamin Green

These two former slaves dreamed of starting the largest U.S. African American town and they did.  Click the link to read about how they developed the city of Mound Bayou, Mississippi and how it became known as the “Jewel of the Delta”.

Benjamin Banneker

A man that allowed his love of education, space, time, and farming to create one of the first annually sent almanacs and the clock.  He didn’t allow race to stop him from writing to Thomas Jefferson about the inhumane treatment of slavery.  Read more about Benjamin Banneker at

Lonnie Johnson, Fannie Lou Hamer, Isaiah T. Montgomery, Benjamin Banneker, Benjamin Green


These are only a few of the great people that have made a difference to the way America is and they should be recognized.  Many of them are unknown or hardly mentioned in history.  Let us honor them and others, by researching them to learn about what they did to truly make America a great nation for all.

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Photos: Wikipedia and People

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