There are times when Black authors find themselves fighting against those who wish them to edit their soul. Take the salt out the meat. Take the voice out the work, and leave it seasonless. To quote Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, “People still have a white, western idea of how intellect is ‘spose to walk in the world.”
Let it not be lost that how Black people speak, including how we write, has been under fire since the days they forbade us to read and write. Considering us fools (and hoping we’d believe we were), they told us our language was broken. Told us massa was some jumbled version of master to justify our alleged stupidity and inhumanness. (Note: Massah is a Hebrew word meaning burden or oppressor. We called them what they were.)
The audacity to dilute language rich in culture by “correcting” it is just as brutal as stripping away someone’s name and replacing it with your own. What does your Ph.D. in poetry have to do with my grandmother’s tongue?
The way our slang terms do not always mirror what is heard or written within collegiate circles.
The way proverbs and parables roll off the tongue only to be shackled to some white scholars’ standards of brilliance. He think it’s nonsense how Jay Jay and Man Man ‘nem talk about how they be chillin. Or how Aunt Lou tells one of her grandchiren to go wrench off this spoon. She puts her hands on her hips, waves and says ‘How you?’ (She means it the way she says it, leaving out the ‘are.’)
The way the world attempted to tuck knowledge away from us, hide from us its secrets. (Though, we already knew them.)
Black writers do not need to sacrifice their soul or shapeshift into white standards of intellect to create something beautiful. They need only to be who they are and let the words be seasoned.
In book one, Cynthia McNair and her boyfriend, Alex, express some racist feelings toward blacks. They visit Cynthia’s Grandmother Sidney McNair, who recounts the story of her ancestor, a slave named Stella Mae. Cynthia has no idea of her African ancestry or how deep this rabbit hole goes.
In book two, we dig deeper into the McNair family’s legacy. Named after her great-grandmother, Stella has a very light complexion, causing her to be the tease of her classmates. Unable to find solace among her African American contemporaries, Stella finds it challenging to adjust to a world where she is too light to be black. After The Great Depression of the 1930s forces Stella’s family to move to Chicago, a conversation with Aunt Sara provokes Stella to do something that will dramatically affect not just her life but the…
Black History Fun Fact Friday is not just a Black History Month segment anymore. It has carved out its own space on this blog. I want to get back to publishing Black History articles every Friday and would love to have some help.
I am reaching out for help from individuals who are interested in helping to contribute to this series.
Must be at least 18+ to write for The PBS Blog.
Must be original work. Do not copy and paste the article from other blogs unless that blog is your own. If you have a Black History article to share that you published to your site, I welcome you to submit it for Black History Fun Facts. I have no problem with that as long as it is your work. You can also link back to it so readers can follow your blog.
Because of the nature of this series, interested writers must be Black/African American.
Topics must be relatable to the history of Blacks/African Americans, African diaspora, e.g.
Articles must be emailed to me for approval at least one week before publishing. If you email your article on 4/28 for example, I will publish it on 5/1 if there are no needed changes.
Please send articles as an attachment in a Word Document, 12p Font, Times New Roman text.
Please do your best to self-edit your work for basic typos/spelling/grammatical errors before submission. Grammarly and ProWritingAid are good free self-edit software programs to use.
Please include at least one image with the post. Canva is a good program to use to make your own images.
This is Black History Fun Fact Friday not Black History Opinions so do your best to submit articles covering accurate historical information. I will vet the submissions to make sure they do. If you have links to sources, please include them. If you quote someone else, please cite your source. Articles that plagiarize will not be featured on this blog. (Note: Writers, as a heads up, if you are quoting people in your Social Media graphics without giving proper credit, this is plagiarism. Putting quotation marks around the quote does not make it yours. Don’t leave off the name of the person who said it first!)
Please include a photo of yourself, social media handles, website, or links to books you’ve written on the topic. This will be added to the end of the post.
Benefits of Guest Blogging:
Increase traffic to your own website/blog
Build Relationships/Online Influence
Build Domain and Search Engine Authority
Capture Wider Audience (go hand-in-hand with the 1st point)
Develop Your Authority on a topic
Improve Your Writing
Opens the doors for paid business opportunities
Email articles to email@example.com.
Title: Birth Days: Stories of Women Who Turned Difficult Beginnings into Glorious Lives
Author: Carol Massey
Print Length: 157 pages
Publisher: Pure Heart Publishing
Publication Date: November 2019
Reviewed By: Yecheilyah Ysrayl
Birth Days is just what its subtitle says, “the stories of women who turned difficult beginnings into glorious lives.” The author introduces us to several fictional women who endure heartbreaking struggles with birth and parenting. Dr. Francine Young gives her baby up for adoption, Lulu didn’t know she was pregnant until two months before giving birth, Margaret messed around with Jackson Jones (and he was not her husband), and Lulu’s grandson became the President of Howard University in 2027.
We are witnesses to the trials these women endured, the men they loved and the people who assisted them in their journeys. (Like Aunt Sis who acted as a Midwife and caregiver for Mary and Connie). Readers will be eager to see what happens next as each woman tackles her beast. We can consider the stories historical as many of them take place as far back as the thirty’s and forty’s and I enjoyed the pieces of history sprinkled throughout as it pertained to the differences of the lives of African Americans in the North as compared to the South. (Though, I wish the author had placed more emphasis on how racist the North was too. To her credit, there was mention of the racial subtleties of the North, but I still got the feeling that for the characters it represented the land of milk and honey.)
My favorite story is the first one, Two Sisters, with Connie and Mary, Aunt Sis and Aunt Ailene. I could see the mother’s grief at having such a difficult pregnancy and the fear that gripped the family at having lost a baby before, and their anxiousness over whether Mary would live. I felt the father’s heartache at building the baby coffin out of the fear she would die like the others. (And when the father renovated the house later in the story and came home with Clara it had a Color Purple feel to it). I was eager to see what would happen to the sisters in the long run. The author did a good job of keeping me wanting to read on. (I enjoyed Dr. Francine’s story too.)
I believe this book to be a five-star read. It’s not a long book and the stories of the women and their struggles with maternity fit well within today’s society where women, their efforts and lives are at the forefront. However, because of a few errors, I cannot rate this book the five stars I think some minor adjustments could help it become. Too much telling, no chapter headings and too many exclamation marks are among my concerns that impede the flow of the reading and, as a result, contribute to my final rating.
After retiring from a 30+ year career in health and educational administration, Carol Massey had time to reflect on the people, places and events that influenced and inspired her. She wanted to pay homage to some of the women who guided, nurtured and supported her journey from childhood through college, career and life as a single mother of an African American male child. Carol, a California native, now lives in suburban Atlanta with her rescue pup, Ms. Frances.
The African American Literature Book Club, which has featured me and my books in the past (thanks to them for that), has asked me to remind readers and fans in my network about the open poll (yes, remind, because I’ve plugged it before so I hope you’ve already voted. I have!).
The poll is for Your Favourite Black Author of the 21st Century. They noted in their email to me that so far it’s been pretty US-centric (and though I did remind them that we in the Caribbean claim Haitian-American writer Edwidge Dandicat and I think Nigeria would have something to say about America’s claim to Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie), I do think we could mix it up some more. That said, I can’t argue with the names currently in the lead; people like…
Aside from the renowned Phillis Wheatly, Lucy Terry is another black poet recognized as one of the first African American poets. Born in Africa, her village was raided when she was a girl and the institution of slavery brought her to America. She was sold to Ebenezer Wells of Deerfield, Massachusetts. Her one and only poem, “Bars Fight” is about the traumatic raid on her village by both white and Native Americans before her enslavement. As is one of her lines: “Eunice Allen see the Indians comeing….And hoped to save herself by running.”
At the age of forty-four Olaudah Equiano wrote and published his autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa. Written by himself, he registered this writing at Stationer’s Hall, London, in 1789. More than two centuries later, his work was recognized not only as one of the first works written in English by a former slave, but in his narrative, Equiano recalls his childhood in Essaka (an Igbo village formerly in northeast Nigeria), where they practiced Israelite customs and traditions before both he and his sister were kidnapped and sold into slavery.