Black History Fun Fact Friday: “In Africa they Didn’t Teach about the Period of Enslavement of Our People.”


I thought this quote was an interesting and thought provoking one to share considering the crisis going on today.

What Crisis?

The one where schools are trying to remove Black History Courses from their Curriculum.

The one where today’s kids only know about Slavery and the Civil Rights Movement.

The one where the only Historical Black people most people can name are Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Dr.

What about Toussaint Louverture, general and leader of the Haitian Revolution?

Or Florence Mills, nicknamed “Queen of Happiness,” and one of the most successful entertainers of the 1920s Harlem Renaissance Movement? You know Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes, but what of the people mainstream society doesn’t speak of?

THAT Crisis

To the quote…

“In Africa, they didn’t teach about the period of enslavement of our people. They forbade us from speaking about it. They would kill people for speaking about that history. So we were not allowed for hundreds of years to speak about what was happening and to teach what was happening.”

– Queen Diambi: The Queen of Congo

My people across the water, is this true? Not hard to believe with the history they restrict here in America.

Now, for our first atrocity of the week…

My raggedy To Kill a Mockingbird

A public school in Biloxi Mississippi is trying to pull To Kill a Mockingbird from the eighth grade curriculum because the language is “uncomfortable.”

If the language in To Kill a Mockingbird makes thirteen-year-olds “uncomfortable,” then I assume the school district is also insisting they stay off Twitter and never listen to rap music. – Julia Dent

“The book is about life in the South during the Great Depression, specifically the life of a black man named Tom Robinson who had been framed for raping a white woman. Local lawyer Atticus Finch agrees to defend the innocent man, angering the racist white community who subject him and his children to abuse. Despite proving Robinson’s innocence, the jury still convicts him because of the color of his skin. I won’t spoil the ending for you if you haven’t read it, but it is even more violent and sad (but with a bit of a happy ending).”

And if you haven’t read the book yet, do that (and I do not mean watch the movie. Read the book).

>>Click Here to Keep Reading<<

Next up is the Winston-Salem School Board who voted SEVEN to ONE AGAINST a Black History Course

“Black American children need to know their history “not later, but now,” Winston-Salem City Council Member D.D. Adams said after a mandatory African-American history course for the district was rejected by the school board.

>>Click here to Keep Reading<<

and this one goes in depth

 

I shared these same articles with my email list and I am sharing them with you too because I am seeing more and more instances of Black history removed. This is one of several reasons why I write Black Historical Fiction. Who will restore what was lost? No greater person can do it than writers. Someone has to write it down even if through Fiction and Poetry.

The little crumbs of black history they have allowed to exist is being erased bit by bit. As the so-called Black man, woman, and child is being awakened to the knowledge of their true heritage, even what they thought they knew is being removed. A few weeks ago, I was watching Michael B. Jordan’s Raising Dion series on Netflix. Dion was being singled out by a white teacher during an altercation Dion had with another student, a white boy. His aunt told his mother it was time for her to have “the talk” with him. When she told him, Dion said he thought “Dr. King fixed all of that.”

Huh? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?

MLK is recent. The 60s was not that long ago and Black History did not begin with The Civil Rights Movement (The NAACP wasn’t even created by Black people. It was founded by Jewish white men.)

Black people, ask yourself why our children are only being taught about the Civil Rights Movement. Chicago Public Schools have been on strike for about two weeks ending today. Maybe parents should consider teaching their own children. It can’t be any worse than the school system.

Image from the movie, “To Kill a Mockingbird”

February is around the corner but you don’t have to wait a whole year to research your history. Here are a few good articles for you.

For The Origins of Black History Month revisit that fun fact here, which I published to this blog a couple years ago.

Here’s an article I found earlier this week written by William Spivey. He was featured on the blog a few years ago about his upcoming book. He wrote an excellent piece on Breeding Farms during slavery.

This young woman is getting a lot of attention of Social Media for being the first Black Teen Author Ever To Write 3 Books Being Used By School Districts Across The Country. She is an excellent example of how Black writers can change things through writing.


Peace and hair grease!

For more Black History Fun Facts visit the Black History Fun Fact page here. If you are interested in submitting a Black History Fun Fact as a guest post on this blog let me know! That would help me to be more consistent with this if I had help. I am putting together something now to promote that but until then, comment below if you’re interested or email me at yecheilyah (at) yecheilyahysrayl dot com. (The post on Roots has been added to the Black History Fun Fact page.)

Next week we are talking about Nina LittleJohn (Yah Willing) who opened a medical facility to treat Blacks in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Self-Publishing: MAYbe I’ll Start My Own Publishing Company #MayChallenge Day 2

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So for those of you who are familiar with me, you know I am on the journey to start my own publishing Company one day. Technically, this company already exists. However, right now I am just using it to publish my own books. Why is this important? I love the way Justin T. McCain put it. He’s someone I’ve had the pleasure of working with recently and a couple of weeks ago his Twitter status read:

I think we become so enthralled with the novelty and idea of some things that we often miss the actual cultivation of them or how to do so.” Justin McCain

I couldn’t have said it better myself. I’ve been working at this goal, officially, for a couple years now and I’ve gotten lots of inquiries and questions into when I will officially launch. The truth is that I don’t want to rush it. Right now I am just polishing my skills and perfecting my goals. Thing is, if you’re thinking about MAYbe starting your own publishing company, you MAY want to start by perfecting the publishing process of your own books first. At least this is the advice I’ve taken to heart. After all, how can I assist anyone in an area in which I am not deeply familiar? If I am going to be trained to play Basketball then I MAY as well learn from a former basketball player. Likewise, I want to offer you the best of the best. A Self-Publishing Company that is unique in more ways than one with a team that will stop at nothing until your book is just the way you want it. I’m talking superb Book Cover Design, Editing, Formatting, and MAYbe throw in some tips on making sure the title of the book is just as eye catching as the cover. After all, these are the first two things that attract readers: The Book Title and the Book Cover. As you can imagine, there’s a lot to do and unless I break my goals down into tiny steps it can get overwhelming. After all, I’ll need to hire a Graphic Designer, Editor, the list goes on and on. So any-who, this post is just an update to let you know that I have not given up on the vision! This is still one of my primary goals. I know it may seem like a huge step but that’s just the kind of person I am. I love writing and publishing but I would like to take it a bit further. What good am I if I cannot pass my skills on to someone else? Like the saying says, “Let each one teach one”. Or in my case, since this is the MAY challenge, “MAY Each One, Teach One! So right now I’m just cultivating this knowledgeable soil about the industry, and really examining and structuring my goals. Speaking of goals, I hope to have the business plan finished by years end! I cannot do anything until that target is knocked down because that is how I can finish the financial process of looking for grants and things of that nature. MAYbe then I’ll start by offering Self-Pub services. As Self-Publishers there’s a lot of help that I know we need in general. Many of us do not have a team of professionals to assist us in the process. MAYbe I’ll build one. Until then, I’ll continue to perfect the craft of publishing and use my own books as a catalyst for how it MAY be to represent someone else.

What about you? Have you started your own publishing company where you represent others? What was your motivation to start? Do you like it? How did you get out there? Any tips? I’d love to hear from you!

Encouraging Womanhood

I remember being given the permission to date at a certain age. Even if not literal (I don’t remember being told), by the age of 15, 16, and 17 it was understood I have at some point begun dating, and as such there was a silent acceptance of this change. As I’m running errands and trying to escape the triple digit scorch that’s got it’s body spread all over Louisiana, I thought about womanhood. d8998d4994ed3993c8d8df56c8e9ebcf What is womanhood? The question hangs over the heads of our daughters with anxious anticipation. The youthful mind dividing itself into sections of experience: puberty, first date, first love, marriage, and children. We split ourselves into portions and gamble off pieces that do not fit. We grow old and still we find this question lingering against the frontal lobe of our minds, and occupying the mental space of our thoughts, “What is Womanhood?” It is a question we believe can be answered just by purchasing cigarettes, buying liquor, engaging in sexual intercourse or the entering of the club scene. As my thoughts spread out and I take these snap shots of my own past, I thought about this generation and how disappointed I am in a lot of today’s youth. Their minds seem to be so far gone from basic fundamental teachings that drive adulthood. My thoughts grew to include preparation and how little of it is present in many of our communities. That is the preparation of our young people and most especially, of our young women. Instead of encouraging our daughters to get boyfriends, it is time we start to prepare them for womanhood. In this way, when they begin to engage in relationships, when they do find a man, they’re not little girls. Because we have not prepared our daughters, a generation of children occupy grown-up bodies and little girls have over run our households and are producing babies they don’t have the tools to teach. What happened to the womanhood training our grandmothers instilled in our mothers fifty years ago?

Appreciation

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One of my itty bitty’s (a nickname for the children I work with in the community) was upset to discover that their treat was not as exciting as those given to the other children. We had played a guessing game that utilized their spelling and vocabulary skills and they were now being rewarded as a job well done. I on the other hand, was not exactly prepared to end the lesson. For this reason I put the snacks in a box and blindly (without looking), chose each child’s snack. While some received potato chips and juice, others got things like cereal (no milk) and cheese crackers. Needless to say the one who got the cereal did not appreciate her inability to get the potato chips, and the one who received the crackers mentioned he did not eat cheese, and simply gave it back. They were more upset however at my unwillingness to give a different snack or to allow them to trade. The lesson here, as I explained, was Appreciation. Not always agreeing with what is received, but accepting it as a gift because it was given to you, even if you passed it on to someone else. I explained to Tommy (not his real name), that instead of giving the crackers back he could have given it to one of his brothers or sisters who was not present at the time. That led to the inspiration of today’s post.

 

How often do you appreciate the little things?

 

You don’t have to share in someone’s reason for being; don’t have to agree with the birds need to sing soulful melodies in the morning in fact, that just may irritate you. May make you abandon your sleep to shoo away the creature destroying your morning bliss. Or maybe the drunkard on the nearest street corner has asked for the last of your change for the last time. Maybe the blogger next door has stirred within you a fiery rage of disagreement, like the smell of dissatisfaction poured out in a bowl of incense, a useless sacrifice from your subscription, not exactly what you expected. But sometimes growing with people is about appreciating the little bit of good you may be able to extract from them for the sake of building up your own goodness.

 
As mentioned earlier, Tommy may not have seen any good in receiving a snack made up of what he did not eat (cheese), but seeing the good in the fact that someone had given him something, he could have accepted the snack as a form of appreciation even if he gave it to someone else. His acceptance would have then built up something good in himself, and may have then moved me to enough compassion to give him something else.

 

The Lesson:
Learn to appreciate what seems insignificant, and in a humble manner strive to grow with what seems poor.