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Respect the Sacrifice…


Hello All!  It’s February, the month of love and pro-blackness!  🙂 For me black history month is a time to reflect on the sacrifices made, both willing and unwilling, so we could have the freedom we currently enjoy.  The freedom to love, the freedom to learn, the freedom to prosper, the freedom to express thoughts openly, and the freedom to be black and beautiful were neither automatic nor expected.  Our ancestors took the thorns from their backside and used them to build bridges so we could walk over into greatness.  For that, I am eternally grateful.

The poem “Ballad of Birmingham” by Dudley Randall has always touched my soul, maybe because it speaks to the mother in me.  It also has a way of slapping me out of my complacent and content moments.  It reminds me that there is still work to be done because those who paid the ultimate price with their lives deserve much more from me, from you, from all of us.

Until our minds are as free as our bodies, we have not arrived.  Keep fighting for the change you seek!

ChUC

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Ballad of Birmingham

Mother dear, may I go downtown
Instead of out to play,
And march the streets of Birmingham
In a Freedom March today?”
“No, baby, no, you may not go,
For the dogs are fierce and wild,
And clubs and hoses, guns and jails
Aren’t good for a little child.”

“But, mother, I won’t be alone.
Other children will go with me,
And march the streets of Birmingham
To make our country free.”

“No, baby, no, you may not go,
For I fear those guns will fire.
But you may go to church instead
And sing in the children’s choir.”

She has combed and brushed her night-dark hair,
And bathed rose petal sweet,
And drawn white gloves on her small brown hands,
And white shoes on her feet.

The mother smiled to know that her child
Was in the sacred place,
But that smile was the last smile
To come upon her face.

For when she heard the explosion,
Her eyes grew wet and wild.
She raced through the streets of Birmingham
Calling for her child.

She clawed through bits of glass and brick,
Then lifted out a shoe.
“O, here’s the shoe my baby wore,
But, baby, where are you?”

 

A Time to Stand


The dusty roads of Georgia and the sweet smell of cobbler was calling Mason home. He clearly remembered the way to Grandma Bertha’s house, though he’d been gone thirty-six years. He crossed the state line into Augusta and his hands trembled like weeping willows in a May rainstorm.

“Surely times have changed”, Mason thought while parking at a roadside fruit stand.

He bought a bag of peaches then tasted one, savoring the warm juice and forgetting decades of fear. He stretched his bum leg before limping back to his car, hopefully unrecognized. He desperately wanted to lay eyes on Grandma first, before anyone saw him.

When he arrived at the old house on Grace Street he wished he had been around to keep it up. The porch creaked when he pulled the screen door latch.

Mason sighed, “Country folk still leave their doors unlocked”. “Grandma”, he yelled as a broom handle met his temple. “It’s me, Mason!”

“My Mason? Praise Jesus!”

Grandma embraced him with a mix of joy and fear.

“I wanted cobbler, Grandma.” Mason handed her the bag and grinned like he was seventeen again.

“Boy, you shouldn’t be here.”

“I needed to come home, for my soul’s sake.”

Mason sat at Grandma’s kitchen table for hours and devoured the cobbler. He told her stories of Canada, his grown children and the wife he’d recently lost.

Extremely frail, Grandma lowered her head. “I hate I missed your life but you had to go.”

A knock made Grandma jump. Her watery eyes pleaded with the boy she’d raised.

“I’d rather die not seeing you again than let them get you.”

“I can’t run anymore, Grandma.”

Mason stood with pride on his mangled leg and opened the door.

“Mason Perry, you’re under arrest for the 1938 rape of Jolene Hollingsworth.”

Look Back At It


When I first sat down to write this article my thought process was going in a totally different direction. The original title was “Don’t Look Back” because I wanted to convey that it’s alright if a couple of things about you aren’t like they used to be 10 or 20 years ago. More than likely, the majority of us have changed but with that change has come growth. So I wanted to encourage people to not be so stuck on their past selves that they hinder their forward progress. In other words, don’t use your past as a crutch but use it as a clutch. If you must look back at the past don’t dwell on it. Please realize that life is a long journey and sometimes you’ll have to shift through lots of gears, down and up, if you don’t want to get locked into your present circumstance. Okay, so in a watered down kind of way that’s basically what I wanted to say but I thought the title was a little careless and I felt I could go deeper.

December 1st is the anniversary of Rosa Parks’ famous act of protest on a Montgomery, AL bus in 1955 and it’s also my birthday so that date has more than personal meaning to me. Since this was my birthday week and the 55th anniversary of the protest, as I was writing I was reminded that there are some things we should actually look back at. We should literally stare at past events with our mind’s eye and never forget. If we think about it 1955 was not that long ago. If we’re failing to teach, learn and understand the significance of recent history then we’re failing ourselves. I know in some instances it is much more convenient and comfortable to forget. But its disturbing that we forget that MTV once refused to play Black videos and the University of Alabama wouldn’t let us walk through their doors or play on their field or that Dub’s Burgers in Athens, AL thought it was okay to serve us through the book door; but we won’t forget that Uncle Johnny told us off at Thanksgiving, or the neighbor left his garbage can on the curb too long or that a friend owes us $20. The fact is, we are much better off than most of our parents and grandparents but we have also acclimated to what we‘ve been giving and we spend lots of time on trivial things. I know times aren’t what they used to be but sometimes we need to look back to see why to ensure that we continue to move forward.

Blog ya next time,
ChUC

Ancestors…


Hundreds of years of organized oppression
History
Their voices whisper from the grave to me
Activists
Girl, we were beaten just so you could have this
Truth
I’m glad somebody had proof of the dream
King
That’s what your son, my son, our sons are
You
Have the power to change jeans but not genes
God
Said trust me, I made you Black for a reason so
Reason
With the others who do not yet know

In Response to “let’s just raise our kids right”


Hey Chris!  You’re comments were so thought provoking that I decided to share my response with everyone.  Well, everyone who actually reads my little old blog  🙂 

First, I think when women get pregnant they always feel that the father will step up to the plate and be there, whether that’s wishful thinking or not.  I’ve seen how some women can push a man away and sometimes the man is just a deadbeat.  And I definitely don’t think you have to be married to be good parents but if you’re in a good marriage you should thank the Lord that you got it right because life as a parent should be much easier for you on many levels.  Wow, how many dysfunctional marriages do you know of!  I can count the ones I admire on a few fingers.  But people will pat couples on the back because they stay together.  I’ve never understood that.  They could be giving each other hell at home, we don’t know.  I assume that’s a religion thing. I’m not am extremely religious person so some standards are hard for me to process I guess.  I know I just got a bunch of moans and groans but that’s ok too.

For most people I know, I can’t say that single parenthood has become an acceptable standard (meaning they don’t plan for it) but I do think that “old-fashioned ways” are long gone.  Let’s face it, our society is just as sexually charged as it’s ever been, even though we are much more open about it, but we don’t get married at 17 anymore and couples surely don’t get married because they get pregnant.  50 years ago those things were common.  Plus, then, marriage consisted of a man going to work and providing financially and the woman stayed home to raise the kids.  I don’t care if he locked her in the closet on Thursdays and mentally tore her down on Saturdays, she was there smiling with dinner on the table at 6:00.  That doesn’t happen nearly as much as it used to either.  There are so many underlying factors to consider that I don’t think we know how to apply old values to new circumstances.  There was a time when people stayed together because there was a different stigma associated with divorce or a woman couldn’t make it on her own because she had very little opportunities.  But is it good to go through life being foney, unhappy and unfulfilled just because it looks better to stick to a decision you made?  I suppose that’s an individual decision.  I only knew one grandparent growing up but I was raised in a two parent home and I’m a single parent.  But even though were aren’t in the same home I don’t parent alone.  There is a big difference between being a single parent and being the only parent. 

People crave the X-Y union but they are unsuccessful at finding it because we don’t know themselves.  We just want somebody, anybody.  People don’t know their faults or see the importance of improving them.  We don’t know what we have to offer or what we truly need from a companion other than sex, validation and a hand-holder at the church picnic.  We settle and then we get bit in the butt later and still don’t chastise ourselves.  We’re too busy loving ourselves and smothering ourselves with kindness.  And it’s not because we’re stupid but it’s because the people who understand the facts can’t teach.  They try to teach a simple struggling man in the same way they would discuss a topic with a highly educated/worldly man and then wonder why the simple man doesn’t “get it”, why he doesn’t just see the light and help himself.  It reminds me of a story my Mama told me once  about her first year at a desegregated school as a teenager.  She told me that the teachers not only displayed an I don’t care about you attitude but they often said, “I already have mine and it’s up to you to get yours”.  What kind of crap is that to tell someone you are supposed to be helping.  But our society is like that.  It’s an “I got mine so you should be able to figure out how to get yours” kind of world.   IF YOU’RE NOT INTELLIGENT ENOUGH TO LEARN THE GAME AND BEAT THE HELL OUT OF IT THEN IT’S YOUR FAULT.  That’s the message I’m getting.  I know I’ve gotten a little off the subject and I’m rambling but it just goes to show that there are so many factors against us and not enough for us.  We can’t watch our old VHS tapes on a Blu-Ray player and we can’t live this current life like our last generation did.

I don’t think older generations had to live a perfect life to have a positive effect on future generations but they must pass down the lessons they learned from their own failures and experiences so we don’t make the exact same mistakes and unconsciously pass them to our children.  That’s obviously not happening.  Everybody wants to look perfect even when they aren’t because “you know how people talk and get in your business”.  I know this post is full of “I thinks”, but this whole blog is about “I think”.  🙂  Anyway, I’m constantly under construction and changing everyday so thanks for listening and reading.  🙂

Please read Chris’s original comment at https://chickunderconstruction.wordpress.com/2010/07/24/lets-just-raise-our-kids-right/#comments

July 4th, Then and Now


July 4th is a reminder of why I drag myself, tired and sometimes still a little sleepy, to work every day.  Well that and the bi-weekly paychecks.  As a Senior Engineer for the Department of Defense, I know that protecting the natural rights and independence celebrated on July 4th is a part of our everyday mission.   My freedom to write these words and say whatever I want to say, your freedom to read them and even dislike them if you choose to, and our freedom to decide our own paths are merely some of the simple luxuries that exist by living in a country free from tyranny and dictatorship.  And whether we agree or disagree on how this independence came to pass or when the term “we” in the Declaration of Independence became all inclusive is irrelevant for this one day of celebration at least.  We are blessed to have a multitude of men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line to protect our freedom, who work heroically in harms’ way so that most of us will never smell the stench of a bomb or feel the impact of a missile.  Instead, we have the option to sit in our homes, watch our children grow or do anything else in peace.  The protection of human rights is imperative for us to remain free and there are activists, seasoned and fresh, young and old, who have made sacrifices and risked their lives as well for American freedom.  Some have marched, protested, prayed and died.  Others have painstakingly combed through every state law, every constitutional amendment, and every Supreme Court case to ensure that this country stands by the words “we all are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable Rights”.   Truth be told, I know the pathway has been long and imperfect and there are still mountains to climb but all in all, we’ve come a long way baby! 

To American Freedom, Happy 234th Birthday!

Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory


Mine eyes have seen the glory
From piss pots, slop buckets and tin roofs – no blinds
To a centrally heated home and enough baths to pee at the same time.
From a few packs of chicken thighs cooked to last seven days a week
To steamed rice, roasted red potatoes, fish only – I’ll pass on the meat.

Mine eyes have seen the glory
Kinky black hair, brown skin and full lips – disrespected
Sprinting for a public beach to take a dip – civil rights protected.
Loving the sand between my toes and life’s infinite possibilities
Years later as stretch marks, cellulite and rolls show freely.

Mine eyes have seen the glory
The seeds of Negros highly educated in Calculus, sines and cosines
But morally epileptic, seizuring for prosperity, trying to keep time.
Fortune or fame is fine but neither of which do I aspire
Returning to our former virtues is my truest desire before I expire.

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